The last time Mobilians were getting out to vote for mayor was 2005. Nearly 50,000 people voted in the general election on Aug. 23, between Ann Bedsole, Sam Jones, John Peavy and Bess Rich.
Jones and Peavy received the most votes, earning them spots in the run-off. Jones got 23,671, while Peavy took 12, 552. Bedsole received 6, 939 and Rich 6,380.
Six days later, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Though Mobile did not take a direct hit, there was still damage, and citizens were preoccupied with getting their own lives and properties back to normal, as well as what was going on with our neighbors to the west.
The Peavy campaign tried unsuccessfully to have the run-off election postponed. After his loss to Jones, he said losing a week of campaigning during this time really hurt his efforts.
But even with all of the turmoil going on back then, more than 53,000 people cast ballots in the runoff election on Sept. 13.
If absentee ballots are any indication, then the turnout will be even bigger tomorrow. In 2005, only 900 absentee ballots were cast in the general and runoff election combined. For the 2013 election, the city had received around 3,000 absentee votes as of last Friday.
In 2005’s general election, the field was more crowded with four people running for mayor as opposed to 2013 when Jones, Sandy Stimpson and Doris Brown are the only candidates.
In 2005, there were 34 voting centers in the city of Mobile, which are spread out through seven districts. In 2013, there are 38 voting centers.
In the 2005 general election, 19 of the precincts went to Jones while 15 went to Peavy. There were three precincts separated by less than 100 votes. Jones resoundingly took Districts 1, 2 and 3, which are historically African-American districts.
However, in those three districts, the margin of victory was much wider than the other four districts.
In District 1, Jones took 67 percent of the votes. Sixty-nine percent of the voters in District 2 supported Jones and an overwhelming 88 percent of District 3 voted for Jones.
In District 4, Jones took two of the four precincts — Morningside School and Our Lady of Lourdes Church — and nearly secured the VFW Post No. 49. Jones also took one voting center in District 5, Elizabeth Fonde School.
Peavy took 34 percent of the votes in District 4 to Jones’ 30 percent of district. District 5 was much more lopsided for Peavy, who took 71 percent of the votes. Jones had his weakest showing in this district taking only 24 percent of the votes cast in District 5.
District 6 went to Peavy, but the two candidates split District 7 with Jones taking Orchard School and Hillsdale Community Center.
Both District 6 and 7 were extremely close for Jones and Peavy. In District 6, Jones received 25 percent of the vote while Peavy had 29 percent. In District 7, Jones had 34 percent and Peavy had 37 percent.
Jones also had the most absentee ballots cast of any candidate with 341. Bedsole had the next highest with 183 absentee ballots.
The 2005 runoff election, Jones took the mayoral seat with 29,967 votes to Peavy’s 23,099.
Jones held strong and claimed to the precincts he won previously, but in Districts 6 and 7, the votes were closer than before.
Jones also improved on his absentee ballots by getting 403 in the runoff. However, Peavy also boosted his absentees up to 317 from 170.