On Nov. 5 the Mobile mayor’s office will no longer have a door. That’s the promise Sandy Stimpson held throughout his campaign and now that 53 percent of Mobilians voted for the candidate, that promise can come to fruition.
During the Aug. 27 municipal election, just more than 52,000 people voted. Of those, 27,853 voted for Stimpson while 24,037 or 46 percent voted for incumbent Sam Jones. Doris Brown received less than 1 percent with just 165 votes.
At Fort Whiting, where Stimpson’s campaign party was held, the crowd of hundreds was jubilant throughout the night as the results were played, but nothing matched the excitement as the next mayor of Mobile took the stage.
Stimpson started by saying, “Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.” Then the crowd broke out into chants of “Sandy.”
Soon Stimpson was on task again saying he could never express how much the support of the crowd meant to him.
“There truly is no way to express how much this means to me and how humbling this is,” he said. “Every single person in this room believed in one Mobile and that’s what made this happen.”
While Stimpson won by more than 3,000 votes, he was at one time considered a long shot, which is a fact that didn’t escape two people on the candidate’s campaign team.
Joe Bullard, Stimpson’s campaign chair, said when Stimpson first announced he was going to run for mayor, there were a few people who didn’t believe he could win.
“Three prominent businessmen came to me and said, ‘He cannot win. You need to talk him out of it,’” he said. “Well, there’s two things that kept me from doing that. First, is that Sandy and I are not the type of people who like to be told we can’t do something. Second, they didn’t know Sandy absolutely felt that he was led to do this.”
Chad Tucker, campaign consultant, made reference to two predictions by odds maker Danny Sheridan, who said Jones was going to win.
“Where is Danny Sheridan?” Tucker quipped. “When this idea began in a conference room in Scotch and Gulf Lumber, no one thought we had a chance. They didn’t know Sandy Stimpson and they didn’t know (the supporters).”
Stimpson joked in his victory speech that he was glad Bullard never told him about the three businessmen trying to persuade him not to run. He said that he felt good about the campaign even when the odds seemed to be against him.
“Before we started this incredible journey … the day before I announced I was going to run, I went to my mom and dad’s house. There my dad put his hand on me and blessed me,” Stimpson said. “I started this with my father’s blessing. I started this a year ago with a bold vision that resonated.
“The vision is the city to be the safest, most business friendly and family friendly in the nation. When we unite as one community … when we all come together, anything is possible”
Stimpson noted that the support from law enforcement officers was huge in his campaign. He said when endorsed by the Mobile County Law Enforcement Association and Mobile Firefighters Association Local 1349 at the beginning of August, he could feel the momentum build until election day.
“I think the law enforcement supported me because they have gone seven years without the resources and tools they need to protect us,” he said.
While Stimpson didn’t have many answers about his takeover of the mayor’s office, he did say he planned to take the door off the office on day two of his administration.
When asked about any personnel shakeups, he said it was too early to think about that. Stimpson also said he had “no plans” to talk with Chief of Police Micheal Williams.
He said he was looking forward to hit the ground running on fulfilling his vision — for Mobile to be the safest, most business and family friendly city in the nation by 2020.
“The idea didn’t come out of the box,” he said. “This is something the developed as I listened to people all over the city. I kept hearing these three things over and over. It might not have been in the same words, but it was the same feeling.
“I think the support I received came because the vision for Mobile came from the people’s voices. They heard themselves in what I was saying and responded by voting.”