Eleven candidates were vying for the chance to head the city. Stewart's closest competitor was Ann Welch, the Anniston business owner who brought in 17 percent of the vote.
“I think we had a tremendous organization that will be reflective of what we will do at City Hall,” Stewart, 56, said Tuesday night. “The organization was made up of all four wards. It was a melting pot of folks.”
Stewart’s victory Tuesday was broad; he led in every polling place in the city.
Stewart, a 1974 graduate of Anniston High, is a lawyer. Until earlier this year, he was a municipal judge, a post he held for 16 years.
Incumbent Mayor Gene Robinson captured less than 3 percent of the vote, and conceded the election before all the votes were tallied.
“I'm of course disappointed,” Robinson said.
Stewart won’t be the only new face at City Hall after the new council is sworn in. The remaining incumbents from the 2008 election were swept from office Tuesday. Incumbent Herbert Palmore came in third in a three-man race in Ward 2. Sheffton Goodson and David Reddick will battle in the Oct. 9 runoff. In Ward 3, Seyram Selase defeated three-term incumbent Ben Little. Jay Jenkins, appointed to the vacant Ward 1 seat in January, won a full term over challenger Andy Hatley. Ward 4’s representative will be decided in a runoff between Millie Harris and Marcus Dunn.
Robinson said he was proud of what he accomplished in four years and will continue to work until his last day in office, which will arrive in early November.
Robinson was the head of a controversial City Council and was not stranger to controversy himself.
Robinson and Stewart both agreed — the voters had spoken and they wanted change.
Stewart said he was ready to give it to them. His first order of business will be to try to unify the five council members and the city, he said.
“The days of dysfunction are over,” Stewart said.