It's been a heated campaign for mayor of Opp between the incumbant and a political newcomer. Next week, they will face each other in a runoff and both candidates say, it's now time to talk about the issues.
Some voters in Opp say the race for mayor has been dirty politics. Two-term mayor, H.D. Edgar, faces a strong challenge from buinessman, John Bartholomew. Stories have been circulated about each candidate, but both Edgar and Bartholomew say the rumors didn't come from them.
"It's been a very stressful campaign on both sides, I'm sure. A lot of things have been said that probably shouldn't have been said by supporters on both sides," Said current mayor, Edgar. "I won't say my candidate made any of those statements himself or I made those statements, but some of my supporters, some of his supporters. And that happens a lot in politics."
"I will not go into this campaign and I have not gone into this campaign or allowed any of my people to go into the campaign with a negative attitude towards anybody, so this is what we stand on," Said mayoral candidate, Bartholomew. "We'll stand on it all the way through. And yes, it has been a very nasty campaign towards us."
Both candidates say they want to run on the issues. Edgar believes his experience should be considered by voters.
"I understand the needs of the people of Opp. I was born and raised in Opp. I have compassion for the folks in Opp," Said Edgar.
"One of my differences is I don't believe in a city that should own their buildings. We should not be a real estate company. We should allow manufacturers to come in and build their own buildings or let investors come in and build their buildings," Said Bartholomew.
Right now, the 331 bypass has few businesses on it, but Edgar says he'd like to use the next four years to bring even more to increase sales tax revenue. His other concern? More jobs.
Bartholomew says he, too, is focusing on providing more work opportunities. He's also concerned with high utility bills and bringing more recreation to town.
Opp voters agree some changes need to be made.
"Bring us jobs! Bring us jobs! We have my nephew [who] just graduated high school, I've got children... I don't want to move away, I don't want my children to move away," Said Opp resident, Tabatha Bloodsworth.
During the August election, only 236 votes separated the two candidates. City officials say they expect about 4,000 voters to cast their ballot next Tuesday.