Correction: In Tuesday's ongoing election coverage online, the Ward 1 results were stated incorrectly online for less than an hour. This story has the correct results.
OCEAN SPRINGS -- Voters started the process Tuesday night of electing two new aldermen, while two incumbents fought for their seats in the Republican primary.
Heather Eason and Rickey Authement faced off in Ward 2 for the seat Matt McDonnell is vacating.
In unofficial totals, Authement, who also chairs the city’s Planning Commission, took the ward by 32 votes over Eason.
Authement ran on key issues such as downtown parking, the homeless and attracting businesses to U.S. 90 east. He will face Democrat Michael Pleasant in the June 6 general election.
“People are ready for new energy,” Eason told the Sun Herald before the polls closed. “They want someone who’s accessible.”
Ken Papania took the Ward 4 primary over Tommy Reynolds Jr. Ward 4 Alderman Greg Denyer is stepping down.
Papania, the city’s representative on the Jackson County Utility Authority and a founding member of the city Economic Development Commission, took the primary with 64 percent of the vote over Reynolds. Papania will face Democrat Elizabeth Feder-Hosey in the general.
Ward 1 Alderman John Gill, a 32-year incumbent, took the primary from challenger Bob Briggs, a Biloxi attorney who ran on the platform that Gill was one of the “Psycamore Four” aldermen who voted to deny the psychiatric clinic an office on Iberville Drive. It’s a move that cost the city between $700,000 and $1 million in attorney fees and other costs. Gill said it was an unfortunate situation.
“You’d be surprised how many people are irritated by that,” Briggs told the Sun Herald. Gill will face Democrat Roxanne Samies in June.
Ward 3 incumbent Chic Cody will face Joseph Bellman Jr. in a May 16 runoff. The two were neck and neck Tuesday. Also in the primary was insurance agency owner Ken Foley. There are no Democrats so the runoff will determine the new Ward 3 alderman.
Ward 1, Republican
John Gill (I)
Robert “Bob” Briggs
Ward 2, Republican
Ward 3, Republican
Joseph Bellman Jr.
Ward 4, Republican
Tommy Reynolds Jr.