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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Walt Maddox has won a fifth term as mayor of Tuscaloosa, outdistancing his closest challenger by roughly double the votes in a three-person contest.

Returns from voting on Tuesday showed Maddox with more than 7,000 votes, which was nearly twice the number for former University of Alabama running back Martin Houston. English instructor Serena Fortenberry finished a distant third.

"We couldn't be any more ecstatic about the results," said Maddox. "To win such a competitive race without a runoff speaks volumes."

Maddox ran on a record that included helping navigate the recovery from the 2011 tornado destroyed much of the city of 100,000 people and killed more than 50 people. Maddox lost a Democratic bid for governor in 2018.

Houston, who now works for a credit union and serves as a pastor, received an early endorsement from former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings, who lives in Texas.

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