The last Saturday before the Mobile municipal election on Aug. 27, two mayoral candidates’ supporters came out for two reasons – to pray for one candidate and to canvas the community for another.
Mayor Sam Jones and around 200 supporters joined together at Davidson High School’s auditorium for an afternoon of prayer and praise.
Ministers and deacons gave prayers of thanksgiving, leadership, faith and victory throughout the afternoon, while groups and people, like Jere Thomas, St. Peter Baptist Church and more, performed.
Jones spoke to the supporters, saying the prayer day was the most important of the campaign because it refocused the campaign.
“This showed us again where we should be looking,” he said. “This has been everything that The Lord would have it to be. Let’s show that God’s vote cannot be bought.”
While Sandy Stimpson and 400 supporters met at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the group soon spread out to 60 intersections across the city. Stimpson spoke to his supporters saying he has kept a positive campaign and wants that to propel him to victory in election Tuesday.
“We have kept the high road,” he said. “When there have been things brought up that have nothing to do with the issues facing the city, we have stuck to what matters.
The Rev. Cleveland McFarland took issue with some of Stimpson’s supporters’ signs, which said “Keep King’s dream alive.”
August 24 was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
“They say to keep Martin Luther King dreams alive, you should vote for Stimpson…you do hear what I’m saying,” McFarland said. “We’ve had an afternoon of prayer and praise, not blues and fish plates.
“People said there was a flier that was racist. Well, I think that’s racist to turn King’s dream inside out.”
Both candidates were reserved about the news of the U.S. Postal Service’s investigation into possible fraud in municipal voter absentee ballots.
Stimpson said it was disappointing.
“It makes me sad that there is possibly voter fraud happening,” he said. “I hope that anyone who did commit fraud would be fully prosecuted to the extent of the law.”
Jones said his campaign hasn’t been contacted about it.
“We haven’t received any information or been contacted,” he said. “The absentee ballot is not what’s on the outside of the envelope but what’s inside.”
There have been around 3,000 absentee ballots cast, according to City Clerk Lisa Lambert — that number is drastically up from the last contested mayoral election in 2005, which only saw a total of 900 absentee ballots cast in the general and run-off elections.
The candidates did address the possibility of not knowing who was elected mayor if the investigation lasts longer than Tuesday.
“We are hoping we can get the plurality we need the first time, where we cannot be concerned about the absentee votes or a run-off,” Stimpson said.
Jones said he doubts the issue will go past Tuesday.