Incumbent Mayor Wilce Cooke lost the election by eight votes. That’s less than one percentage point.
During a recount this week, both Cooke and Mayor elect James Hightower picked up two votes. So the end result remains the same even though the vote count changed slightly.
“We’re not trying to say there’s any hanky-panky going on – although it could be,” Cooke said.
He’s concerned about the absentee voting process; mainly who processed the votes and who may have had access. “There’s some issues we’re pursuing that I’m not able to divulge to you; but that’ll come out eventually,” Cooke said.
The state appointed an emergency manger to take over Benton Harbor’s finances during Cooke’s second term as mayor. The emergency manager expects to have the city’s finances back on track soon. He expects to turn power back over to the new mayor and city commission within the next eight months.