More than 100 candidates qualified to appear on the ballots for municipal elections in Baldwin County Aug. 25, but a few notable names are absent.
Foley Mayor John Koniar, who has represented the growing city in some public office for four decades, is not seeking reelection. Neither is nearly two-term Daphne Mayor and former city councilman Dane Haygood.
Haygood, who was appointed by his fellow city councilors as mayor of Daphne in 2013 after the death of Bailey Yelding and won reelection in 2016, said he was stepping down to “pursue other opportunities.”
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to serve but there is sacrifice associated with all public service and I feel it’s the right time for me to step aside and pursue some other endeavors and see how I can give back in different ways,” he said this morning. “We’ve done a lot and I’m pleased with the progress we made. There’s always more I feel like we could have done but we’ve put Daphne front and center of Baldwin County and the Eastern Shore in a way and I think we’ve become a leader in my two terms. But this term is still not done. We still have work to complete. I’m not walking away today but we’re going to allow someone else to step up and steer the ship for a while.”
Haygood, who was also chairman of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) when it memorably voted to reject Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposal for a new toll bridge over I-10 last year, would not disclose whether he is currently interested in pursuing a higher elected office.
“I’m keenly focused on continuing to serve the citizens of Daphne at this time,” he said. “God has provided other paths and opportunities and those are not determined fully, but I feel like now is the right time and place to turn the page and start another chapter.”
In Haygood’s place, four candidates qualified to appear on the ballot in Daphne’s mayoral race. Those include City Councilman and restaurant owner Robin LeJeune, business owner Steve Carey, Selena Vaughn, who is currently chairman of the Daphne Utilities Board of Directors, and Michael Hobbs.
Lejeune and Pat Rudicell are leaving the Daphne City Council, and Rudicell will be replaced by Cunningham Bounds attorney Stephen Olen, who slid into the District 2 seat unopposed. Incumbent councilmembers Tommie Conaway, Joel Coleman, and Angie Phillips were also unopposed, while Amber Smith is challenging Ron Scott and two candidates — Benjamin Hughes and Westley Wright — are vying for Lejeune’s District 6.
Around the county, incumbent mayors in Fairhope, Spanish Fort, Bay Minette, Robertsdale, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Elberta and Perdido Beach will face challenges, while only the towns of Magnolia Springs, Summerdale and Silverhill will not have elections, as all incumbents there were unopposed. City Council seats are contested in Bay Minette, Elberta, Fairhope, Foley, Gulf Shores, Loxley, Orange Beach, Perdido Beach, Robertsdale and Spanish Fort.
Voter registration is open until Aug. 10 and absentee ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 24 and received by noon the next day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Aug. 25 and councils are expected to canvass election results at noon on Sept. 1. Any runoff election necessary will take place Tuesday, Oct. 6.
In Fairhope, three challengers are opposing incumbent Mayor Karin Wilson. Former Community Affairs Director Sherry Sullivan, retired security executive John Manelos and Annette Sanders qualified for the election along with Wilson.
On the Fairhope City Council, Corey Martin ran unopposed for the open Place 2 seat being vacated by Jay Robinson, while incumbent Jimmy Conyers was also unopposed. But incumbents Jack Burrell, Robert Brown and Kevin Boone have challengers in Deb Hopkins, John Howell Gibbens and Joshua Gammon, respectively.
In Spanish Fort, Mayor Mike McMillan is seeking reelection, but will also face three opponents. There, Rebecca Cornelius, Jeffrey Batley and David Westfield also qualified for the mayoral race. On the council, Curt Smith and Mary Brabner were unopposed, but five candidates qualified for vacant seats in District 2 and District 3, while Councilman Clewis Smith is facing a challenge by Mark Cauley in District 4.
Attorney Harry Still III, who has been frequently critical of the leadership at the city of Bay Minette and North Baldwin Utilities as host of “The Backstory Podcast”, qualified to run for mayor against incumbent Mayor Bob Wills. Incumbent city council members Mike Phillips, William Taylor and Shannon Clemmons were unopposed, but Anne Corbett and John Biggs are facing challenges from Jerry Sellers Jr. and Matt Franklin, respectively.
To replace Koniar in Foley, voters will have to choose between 16-year City Councilman Ralph Hellmich or political newcomer Aaron Bika. On the Foley City Council, the only incumbent facing a challenge is J. Wayne Trawick in District 1. Barry Hughes, a former member of the Baldwin County Board of Registrars, said he was motivated to run after seeing “government overreach” during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on local business owners. Hellmich’s open District 3 seat is being sought by Richard Dayton and Raph Eastburn.
In Gulf Shores, Mayor Robert Craft is facing a challenge from John Bays Jr., while every incumbent on the City Council is being contested. In neighboring Orange Beach, Mayor Tony Kennon is facing a challenge from Danny Hayes while two City Council seats — Annette Mitchell’s Place 1 and Joni Blalock’s Place 5 — are being contested by Joe Cardwell and Joe Fierro, respectively.
A full list of qualified candidates around the county appears below, those who are unopposed are highlighted in green.
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