Fayetteville elects first black mayor

Fayetteville made history Tuesday night by electing its first black mayor.

Councilman Ed Johnson unseated Mayor Greg Clifton with 54 percent of the votes. Fayetteville’s election drew 11 percent of the 12,000 registered voters. The city has about 16,000 residents.

Johnson’s victory comes as Fayette County is resisting a court-order to permanently change its voting system from at-large to district voting in an effort to create a more equitable system. Some have argued that the at-large system kept blacks from being elected to the county commission and to the school board.

Johnson is a retired naval commander and past president of the local NAACP. He became the second black elected to political office in Fayette County in 2012 when he was elected to the council. At that time, Johnson swept into office with the help of the county tea party. Johnson is pastor of Flat Rock AME, the oldest black church in Fayette County.

Meanwhile, Tyrone Mayor Eric Dial beat back a challenge from Derrick Jackson who would have become the first black mayor there had he won.