News-Leader: Nixa Voters Elect Clifton as Mayor

On Wednesday, April 7, the Springfield News-Leader featured a story regarding the outcome of Nixa’s contested mayoral race. Nixa’s new mayor and HBA builder member Sam Clifton of Millstone Homes was interviewed for the post-election story.

April 7, 2010
Nixa voters elect Clifton as mayor
Tara Muck

Nixa — Voters in Nixa elected a new mayor on Tuesday.

With 46 percent of the votes, builder Sam Clifton defeated former Mayor Brian Hayes, Nixa Alderman Steve Tallaksen and former city employee Paul Mitchell.

Tallaksen and Mitchell received 16 percent and 9 percent of the vote, respectively.

Hayes, who was removed from office by the Nixa Board of Aldermen in February after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge, received 29 percent of the vote.

Several voters on Tuesday said Hayes’ June 2008 arrest kept them from voting for him this year, even though some had voted for him in 2008.

Wayne Gale said the city needed a better role model.

“I think that a man that represents my city should not drink like the one who did before,” Gale said. “If you can’t give that up for my city, you shouldn’t be mayor.”

A majority of city aldermen agreed when they voted 4-2 to remove Hayes from office in February.

Hayes, who said he had no ill feelings toward the aldermen for their decision, continued his campaign to be re-elected, saying voters should decide whether he would continue as mayor.

On Tuesday night, Hayes said he wasn’t surprised at the outcome but was happy with the turnout.

“I’m pleased, honestly, that I got 700 votes. I’m pleased with that,” he said.

Hayes said he believes Clifton will be a good mayor and that it was a well-deserved win.

As mayor, Clifton will have the job of bringing the city back together after a tumultuous 12 months.

Residents have been concerned over recent incidents, including accusations that former employees bilked the city out of $750,000, that put Nixa in a spotlight they didn’t want.

Clifton said it will take time to unite the community, but he said he’d like to see more citizens attend meetings and get to know what’s going on in the city.

“I think you have to get the trust of the people, then get our citizens involved,” he said. “Every positive step builds more positive influence in the city.”