Tony Alamo Backer Loses Fouke Re-election

Tulsa World
December 3, 2006
By BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer

Alamo backer loses re-election

The town of Fouke, Ark., population under 1,000, has a new mayor after an election that some viewed as a referendum on the ministry of Tony Alamo.

Incumbent Mayor Cecil Smith, an Alamo supporter, lost to Terry Purvis, 216-148.

Alamo has stirred controversy in recent years in this town near Texarkana, Texas, where some townspeople feared the growing ministry was taking over.

Before the election, in a letter to the editor of the Texarkana Gazette, Sherry Potts urged people to vote in the mayoral election.

“If you don’t get out and vote, then you will deserve what you get. Tony Alamo will take over Fouke,” she wrote.

Smith doesn’t share those fears.

“They’re just a church. They do a lot of missionary work . . . They’ve always treated me nice, so I’m going to treat them like neighbors.

“Some people claim they’re trouble. If those people would pray more and gossip less, things would a lot better,” said the mayor of 16 years.

“You can’t run people out of town if they’re not doing anything wrong, just because you don’t like them. I can’t see that.”

Repeated attempts to reach Purvis by phone were unsuccessful.

He told the Arkansas Gazette after the election, “The city of Fouke wanted change and voted for change.”

Fouke resident Doyle House said, “I’d say the townspeople are pretty happy about the election.”

Alamo said he contributed money to the town to build a park because he felt sorry for the children, donated Jaws of Life equipment and provided a generator when power to the town was knocked out by an ice storm.

“Now they say we were giving money to Cecil Smith under the table. I can’t allow that to go on any more,” he said.

“I’ve hired a local attorney to come against these liars.

“I tell them, ‘I thought I was doing you a favor.’ ”

In: 2000-2007

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