2013 Mayoral campaign

Lagniappe's stories about the mayoral race between two-term incumbent Sam Jones and challenger Sandy Stimpson.

2013 Mayoral campaign

What’s next for mayor-elect Sandy Stimpson?

“I’m running for you, your future, the city and your children’s futures. This is not for me to get a job. I have a job, but I want to make sure the job for Mobile gets done.” Sandy Stimpson said those words on Feb. 23, when he kicked off his campaign to be the next mayor of Mobile.On Aug. 27 the people of Mobile decided they would take him up on that offer. But even though the now mayor-elect drew 1,200 supporters to that February rally, many still wondered, “Could he really win the mayor’s seat?” When citizens went...

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Stimpson’s victory, by the numbers

A precinct-by-precinct comparison of the 2005 and 2013 mayoral race shows where Mayor Sam Jones lost support, as well as where challenger Sandy Stimpson picked up voters to unseat the two-term incumbent. For the most part, throughout the city, Jones’ percentage of votes was down compared to the 2005 runoff election between him and John Peavy. During the 2005 runoff, Jones took 84 percent of District 1 votes, but in 2013 took only 71.8 percent. The drop in District 2 was just as severe. In 2005, Jones had 77 percent of the votes and just 64.5 percent of District 2 in 2013. But it was District 3 where the incumbent really fell off. In 2005, Jones had a commanding 88.7 percent of the votes, but in 2013 that number fell to 70 percent — a nearly 19 percent drop. Jones also saw a loss in his District 4 voter percentage from 38.4 percent to 31.5 percent. He also fell slightly in District 5 from 35.5 percent to 31.2 percent. Another large decrease in vote percentage came in District 6. In the 2005 runoff, Jones had 35 percent of the votes for the district. In 2013, he took a paltry 19.5 percent. Jones did increase his voter percentage in District 7. In 2005, he had 41 percent and in 2013 he bettered the number to 48.1 percent. In the 2005...

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In wake of election, mayor’s police chief, chief of staff and finance director announce retirement

Just hours after Mobilians elected Sandy Stimpson to be the mayor of Mobile effective Nov. 4, three retirements from prominent people within Mayor Sam Jones administration were announced on Aug. 28. Chief of Staff Al Stokes, Mobile Police Chief Micheal Williams and City Finance Director Barbara Malkove will be retiring. Other people in Jones’ administration are taking the wait and see approach to the changing of the guard. Public Services Executive Director John Bell said he would not retire. In the legal department, city attorney Larry Wettermark and Flo Kessler said they serve at the pleasure of the mayor, but didn’t say whether or not they would be leaving on Nov. 4. The decision to retire for Stokes, who served under Jones and Mike Dow, came after the announcement of the election results. “Until 7 p.m. last night, I wasn’t thinking about retirement,” he said. “But I’ve been in this position for 19 and half years. I am satisfied that my investment of time and family to Mobile, my hometown, has been extraordinary and I’m proud of it. I have come back home. I am happy.” Stokes said there are a lot of options, but he’s looking for something that makes him excited to go to work like his position did for nearly two decades. He said if the next step is just gardening, then he’s happy with that...

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Base leaves Jones dry as Stimpson runs away with election

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...

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Citing low turnout, Mayor Jones concedes election

Perhaps one the earliest predictions and most accurate summaries of Sam Jones’ Election Day performance came from a supporter of his who arrived, at about the same time the polls were closing, to his party in the conference room at Ashbury Suites. Stepping through a set of double doors, she found a mostly barren, quiet space where perhaps 20 people were sitting and talking amongst themselves. “This is it?” she asked, to no one in particular. “I have a bad feeling about this.” Things got more lively about 20 minutes later, when a musician sat behind a keyboard and launched into a convincing version of “Stand by Me.” But as the hour wore on, it appeared not enough people, in fact, stood by the two-term incumbent mayor and in the end, his most recent campaign may have never had any legs. Then, at 8:15 p.m., with only a single precinct left to report, Jones entered the conference room himself and promptly conceded to Mayor-elect Sandy Stimpson. “I called Sandy a few minutes ago and congratulated him and would really like to see him be successful in what he’s undertaking,” Jones said, thanking the people who worked on his campaign. “I don’t plan to go anywhere, I’ll still be around and still be working to make Mobile the best we can possibly make it so we can help our community...

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Absentee ballots bring confusion and scrutiny on Election Day

Less than an hour into the Mobile municipal election, people were already complaining of issues at the polls — the most common of those being that when the voter went to the poll, he or she was marked as already voted by absentee ballot. Robert Martin said when he went to vote at The Mug Café, which is in District 4 and has 2,902 active voters, he was told his name was already marked off. “Needless to say I started raising Hell, and eventually was told that they had made a mistake, and would check someone else’s name off also named Martin so I can vote,” he told Lagniappe. “I hope my vote ends up counting since someone used my name. In this election, every vote counts.” Dabney Foshee relayed a similar experience when she tried to vote at E.R. Dickson Elementary School this morning. In her case, Foshee said she had signed as a witness for her son who did vote by absentee ballot, but somehow her name was crossed off as having voted as well. She said she was the fifth one at that polling place to have the problem early this morning. And Sharon Heggeman says she was also told she’d already voted when she went to E.R. Dickson around 9 a.m. Her husband and daughter both had voted absentee. She ended up filing a provisional...

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On election eve, a look back at the poll numbers from 2005

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...

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Allegations of voter fraud, prayers highlight last weekend of mayoral race

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...

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