Keith Gaskin ahead of Robert Smith in Columbus mayoral race after final tally of affidavits with 53 outstanding absentee ballots

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The final tally from the city election commission Thursday has Keith Gaskin with the most votes at 2,907 in the race to become the next mayor of Columbus.

Incumbent Robert Smith, Sr. has 2,867.

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There are currently 53 outstanding absentee ballots that were mailed on or before election day.

“These numbers aren’t certified and there are some absentee votes that are still out there,” Gaskins says. “I think once everything is counted and certified, I will be still in the lead and mayor-elect of the city of Columbus.”

It was close to 9:30 a.m. Thursday that election officials began counting the 158 affidavits and unknown number of curbside ballots across Columbus’s six Wards and 13 precincts. Gaskin entered the day leading Smith with 2,862 votes to 2,796.

Smith is seeking his fourth full term in office, while Gaskin hopes to become the city’s first new mayor since 2006.

“I consider Mayor Smith a friend, I was grateful to him for his many years of public service,” Gaskin says. “I got into the race because I felt like it was time for Columbus to have a choice.”

The remaining 53 absentee ballots have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to arrive. Election results will be certified on June 18.