Based on the unofficial results in the District 3 race for the Mobile County Commission, Jerry Carl narrowly survived one of the area’s more heated campaigns.
With around 52 percent of the vote, Carl bested his challenger, State Rep. Margie Wilcox. According to a representative of the Wilcox campaign, she conceded the race shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday night.“I’ve found out that no one can accomplish a whole lot in their first term because by the time you get a little bit of a grip and you get things moving, that four years is up,” Carl told Lagniappe. “The excitement of going into my second term is knowing I’m going to see most of these things actually come to be, whether it be economic development projects or some of these road projects.”
Though Carl has secured a spot on the Commission for another four years, his victory was far from a landline with early reports showing little more than 400 votes separating the candidates. Even Carl admitted he was “given a run for his money.”
As for Wilcox, she’ll retain her seat in Alabama’s House of Representatives, but her campaign organizer, Jon Gray of Strategy Public Relations, said her run sent Carl a message from voters that “he needs to do a better job of leading the county.”
“You don’t go from 70 percent, this time four years ago, to just 52 percent and not realize you need to make some kind of change,” Gray said. “However, Jerry has the future in front of him. Everybody has a second chance.”
Gray said Wilcox was very thankful to those who supported her. He added that her team had run a great campaign — knocking on nearly 11,000 doors in District 3 and raising a significant amount of funds for a race against a sitting commissioner.
Repeating what he said several times over the past few weeks, Carl emphasized he’s ready to move forward from what has proved to be a fairly contentious campaign.
Throughout the race, Carl’s fellow commissioner Connie Hudson, Revenue Commissioner Kim Hastie and License Commissioner Nick Matranga openly supported Wilcox, or as Carl put it, “the gang of girls beat up on me pretty bad.”
Despite that, Carl said March 2 is a new day for the commission and other Mobile County officials drawn into the campaign. He said winning a second term gives everyone “a great opportunity to start over.”
“They represent the voice of the people too, and we will find a way to work together,” Carl told Lagniappe. “If there is anything I may have done to offend them or may have said wrong, I ask for their forgiveness. We’re going to get back to the business of the people.”
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