Cheatham, Murphy win council seats

Published 8:53 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Franklin Councilman Benny Burgess, from left, his business partner Julie Griggs, Michael Burgess and Councilman Barry Cheatham look over election results at Fred’s restaurant on Tuesday. Cheatham defeated Earl Blythe in Ward 1 321-133. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Ward 4 Councilwoman-elect Mona Murphy was on the edge of her seat at Simply Divine restaurant Tuesday night as the election results rolled in.

Ward 4 totals were the last to be reported to the voter registrar’s office, and they were close: Murphy, a member of the Franklin School Board, beat Linwood Johnson by nine votes, 110 to 101, in the race to succeed Ward 4 Councilwoman Raystine Johnson, who ran successfully for mayor.

In the other competitive council race, incumbent Ward 1 Councilman Barry Cheatham, with 321 votes, or 71 percent of ballots cast, won re-election in a landslide over challenger Earl Blythe, who had 133 votes.

Incumbent Ward 2 Councilman Benny Burgess was unopposed.

Murphy said she will “serve the people and not myself and be fair and do the right thing.”

A 59-year-old acquisition support technician with the U.S. Department of Defense Supply Center in Richmond, Murphy will leave her post as vice chairwoman of the school board when she takes her City Council seat on July 1.

“I’m ready for it,” Murphy said of serving the city in a different capacity. “I’ve already served on several boards for the city, so it’s nothing new. It’s nothing to be taken lightly, but I’m ready to do it.”

Linwood Johnson thanked the voters and congratulated Murphy.

“I wish her the best,” he said.

Johnson was an active citizen who attended many council meetings before running for office. He said he would continue to do so.

Cheatham, who waited on Tuesday’s results at Fred’s restaurant downtown, said he was honored to be selected for another four-year term.

“I’ll hit it like I did the last four years,” the 61-year-old certified public accountant said. “I’ll give them the same energy I did the last four years.”

Blythe said he was grateful for the support he received. He said he ran for the post to try to give back to the community that had given him so much. The 69-year-old is a retired social services director for Poquoson and York County.

“As I stated at the very beginning of the campaign, I felt indebted to the people of Franklin who made significant contributions in the 1940s and ’50s toward my becoming the person I am today,” Blythe said. “I wanted to repay that debt by offering my 33 years of local government experience by serving on council.”