Willis received 353 of the 608 votes cast for the mayor’s seat, beating out first-time candidate Philip Smith and incumbent Garry Bearden.
“I think they spoke volumes at the polls,” Willis said. “I think they wanted change.”
Willis had been appointed to a council seat in Weaver in 1998 when his father, then a Weaver City Council member, died. In 2000, he was elected to serve another term in office as a council member.
Four years later he ran for mayor and won. He completed that term in 2008, when Bearden was elected.
Three council seats were up for grabs Tuesday. Place 1 Councilman Mike Warren beat challenger Warren Dempsey, while incumbent Ellen Cole beat out Natalie Stephens.
Place 4 Councilman Odis Pippin lost his seat in a three-man race. His opponents, Keith Campbell and Les Hill, will contend in a runoff Oct. 9.
Tim McRae, a newcomer to the Weaver council, ran uncontested for Place 2 and incumbent Jeff Clendenning ran uncontested for Place 5, and as such were the winners of their seats.
Weaver Mayor Garry Bearden called out the election results to a light crowd in the City Council chambers during the Tuesday meeting. Some attendees clustered together discussing the results after the meeting ended.
Bearden left the chambers immediately after the meeting. He declined to comment when reached by telephone Tuesday night.
Bearden was elected to office in 2008. His first term was marked by legal battles concerning his residency.
Smith, a political newcomer, said he was disappointed in the election results but hopeful for the city’s future.
“I’m disappointed with the result, but I appreciate my supporters and look forward to progress in Weaver,” Smith said.
Star staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter@LJohnson_Star.