The city of Muskegon Heights has a new mayor after Tuesday’s election, however a clerical error may have cost the incumbent her job. Challenger and Muskegon Heights City Councilman Walter Watt defeated Mayor Kim Sims by just 61 votes on Tuesday, and impressive showing for Sims, considering the incumbent’s name wasn’t even on the ballot.
That’s because officials had removed Sims name from the ballot in August, after the mayor forgot to pay filling fees totaling $250, according to the Muskegon Chronicle. Sims called it a “campaign oversight” and still decided to run on name recognition and as a write-in candidate. The strategy ultimately failed, as voters elected Watt to be the next mayor of Muskegon Heights.
A lifelong resident of Muskegon Heights, Watt says, he wants to be the mayor that returns the city to what it once was, with a thriving downtown and affordable housing for everyone.
“Well, it means a lot to me that I will be trying to move my city forward in a more positive direction,” Watt said. “Putting new ideas on the table to combat the issues we have within the community, so it means a lot to me. I was born and raised here in Muskegon Heights, so I am a native, and I know, what Muskegon Heights used to look like and the glory that it has. So that is my goal is to try and bring back some of that glory.”
Watt is has been a city councilman since 2017 and is a graduate of Western Michigan University. He said that Mayor Sims did reach out to him and congratulated him on the election win.