SELMER, Tenn. — There were several upset surprises across the country in the Tuesday elections.

Add another one to the list from McNairy County where a county-seat town mayor is out of a job after two four-year terms.

Selmer voters made history this week by electing their first-ever female mayor in an election held Tuesday. Sherry Inman defeated two-term incumbent John Smith and a third opponent, Mike Lambert. Inman will take office on Jan. 1, 2022.

Inman earned her victory by getting 350 votes. Smith garnered 294 votes and Lambert got 229 votes.

“It did not hit me until election results were in that I was going to be the first woman to be Selmer’s mayor,” said Inman. “I decided three years ago to run for mayor. I have lived here since I was age two and knew our town could do better.”

Historically, Selmer has had several females serve on the city board as elected aldermen. But Inman will be the first female mayor.

Election officials said Tuesday was a poor turnout at the polls for a town the size of Selmer with only 873 voters casting ballots. The city has a population of over 4,000.

Smith was seeking his third term in office as mayor. He previously served as a city alderman.

Inman said the city had a major sewer problem and they are $14 million in debt. She said it is going to be tough to get it all done very easily.

Inman’s hopes are to get into the office to be ready to start working hard on day one.

Johnny Norris and John Finlayson both were re-elected as members of Selmer’s city board. Finlayson was elected to his fifth term as an alderman.

Inman got a 35-point lead after early voting results were announced Tuesday indicating a change in the mayor’s race was forthcoming.

She knows it is essential to work together with the County Mayor Larry Smith and the county’s economic development director to work on a plan to get the county moving in the right direction.

Inman made it clear she hopes to have a good working relationship with the city aldermen.

“We are on the same team and all of us need to do our jobs and do what is best for Selmer,” said the newly-elected mayor.

She will talk to departmental leaders about their jobs and her plans for them at a later date.

The new mayor has already been making rounds of area city mayors and she hopes to visit Corinth soon to visit with Mayor Tommy Irwin to get tips on how to lead a city in a positive way.


A 1981 University of Tennessee - Martin graduate, Mark Boehler has over 40 years of journalism experience. His wife Dawn is the love of his life and they share five grown children and 10 grandchildren. His passion is his work - writing and photography.

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