BY THE OBSERVER STAFF
Publisher’s Note: These results are unofficial until Jan. 18 at which time the vote will be canvased and declared official. That meeting will take place at the Municipal Court at noon.
Tim Aja won the Ward 3 special-called election Tuesday night with 265 votes, giving him 57.9% of the total vote. He was running against three other opponents, Winford L. Ashmore, Terry Hanners and Sherri Reese.
The special election, held on Jan. 11, was called for following the resignation of Dr. Robert Lofton, who held the seat since November 2020 after winning the August 2020 election.
Lofton stepped down in November 2021 due to his worsening ALS condition and passed away on New Years Day.
Aja said he was happy with how the race turned out.
“I feel really really good. It was a good race and I’m happy, obviously, with how it turned out and I am happy that a lot of people turned out to vote.”
Aja and the other candidates spent a lot of time together while the polls were open on Tuesday.
“I am happy, honestly, to have spent the day talking with Sherri, getting to talk to Terry and there was a great crowd running for this seat,” Aja said.
“Thank to everybody that came out to vote, thank you to everyone in Ward 3 and thank you for the support. Thank you to the three other great candidates that ran for this position. Sherri, Terry and Winford ran great campaigns and were great competitors.”
Ashmore won 1.8% percent of the vote, Hanners won 7% and Reese won 33.3%.
There were a total of 457 votes plus six provisional votes.
Aja said he has admired the way Opelika has been able to grow — to utilize large industries — but also keep the charm of the city
“They did it really smart over the last decade,” he said. “… We haven’t outgrown ourselves, it’s been done really, really well. I just want to make sure we keep doing things well.”
Aja said he has a few goals for his time in office — ensure the city continues to grow responsibly, provide financial literacy education to citizens, better utilize existing park space and more.
“I’m going to be here to work for [the citizens],” Aja said. “I do believe that government works best when it stays out of the way and people are running their own lives for sure, but at the same time, if they have any issues, please come to me any time.
“In addition … I’m a fellow citizen as well. I want to see this city succeed. I’ve got a daughter at Southview Primary and I want to see Opelika City Schools just keep getting better and better. I’ve got a wife that’s a realtor here. I’ve got my business that I’m running here and I want everybody to know, that hey, any decisions that the council makes directly affect us. So I’m going to be feeling anything and that’s how I’m going to view things is as a business owner, as a parent and just as somebody who’s going to be walking down the streets of Opelika and wants this city to be putting it’s best foot forward at all times.”
Reese offered her congratulations to Aja via a Facebook post “Congrats Tim! Thank you to all that supported me. It’s been an amazing journey.”