Voters chose new faces to lead cities across the Coast, including 2 millennial mayors

Shea Dobson hugs his mother, Mary Debell after winning the election for the next Ocean Springs mayor on Tuesday.
Shea Dobson hugs his mother, Mary Debell after winning the election for the next Ocean Springs mayor on Tuesday. amccoy@sunherald.com

There is a lot of change coming to city governments across the Coast. Ocean Springs, Bay St. Louis, Moss Point and Pascagoula all elected new mayors Tuesday and several city councils got makeovers as well.

In the biggest surprise of the night, Republican Shea Dobson defeated three-term Mayor Connie Moran in Ocean Springs by almost 400 votes. Dobson, a relatively unknown young man a few months ago, received 1,951 votes to 1,574 for Moran in unofficial returns. Moran won her home ward, Ward 2, by just 58 votes.

Shea Dobson defeated incumbent mayor Connie Moran on June 6, 2017, to become the next mayor of Ocean Springs.

In other Ocean Springs races, Republican John Gill defeated Democrat Roxanne Samies to keep his Ward 1 alderman seat for a ninth term.

In Ward 2, Republican Rickey Authement won over Democrat Michael Pleasant for the seat being vacated by Matt McDonnell.

In Ward 4, Republican Ken Papania defeated Democrat Elizabeth Feder-Hosey to take the seat being vacated by Greg Denyer. In Ward 5, Republican Robert Blackman beat Democrat Matthew Pavlov to take the seat being vacated by Jerry Dalgo. Alderman-at-Large Boby Cox, Newly elected Ward 3 Alderman Joseph Bellman Jr. and Ward 6 Alderman Michael Impey had no competition.


Republican Dane Maxwell won easily over Democrat Jenafer Gurly and independent Lazaro J. Rovira to take over for Mayor Jim Blevins, who didn’t run for a second term.

Bay St. Louis

Democrat Mike Favre, who beat Mayor Les Fillingame in the Democratic primary, easily won the mayor’s race over Republican Jeff Harding. They’ll also have a lot of new faces on the City Council.

Republican Gary Knoblock won the councilman-at-large seat being vacated by Favre over Democrat Mike Weems and independent Susan M. “Susie” Veglia. Republican Buddy Zimmerman beat Democrat Councilman Joey Boudin in Ward 5 and Republican Josh DeSalvo knocked off independent Councilman Lonnie Falgout in Ward 6. In Ward 4, Republican Larry Smith beat Democrat Tad Black to take the seat held by Councilman Bobby Compretta, who didn’t run. In Ward 1, independent Doug Seal kept his City Council seat, defeating Republican George Williams 311-197. In Ward 2, Republican Gene Hoffman beat Carol Strohmetz by 9 votes in unofficial returns. Ward 2 Councilwoman Wendy McDonald lost to Strohmetz in the Democratic primary. In Ward 3, Democrat Jeffrey Reed didn’t have any competition.

Moss Point

Democrat Mario King, another young man relatively new to the Coast political scene, defeated veteran politician Mayor Billy Broomfield. All the members of the Board of Aldermen, David E. Chapman St., at-large, Sherwood Bradford, Ward 1, Chuck Redmond, Ward 2, Robert H. Byrd, Ward 3, and Ennit Morris, Ward 4, won their seats in the primary.


There will be just one new face in city government, Nathan Barrett, who won the seat held by Councilman David Fayard, who didn’t run in the Republican primary.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich won his second term, easily defeating Democratic challenger Sugar Stallings.

George Lawrence retained his Ward 1 council seat over challenger William Kai Landry. Incumbent Democrat Felix Gines keeps his Ward 2 seat beating Ronald Weeks in the only other race contested in the general election. Ward 4 Councilman Robert L. Deming III won re-election in the Republican Primary and incumbent Republicans Dixie Newman, Ward 3; Paul Tisdale, Ward 5; and Kenny J. Glavan, Ward 6, were unopposed.


Alderwoman-at-Large Mary F. Martin won her third term, defeating Eloise Fairley.

Cameron B. George beat Paul Ceasar to take the Ward 2 seat and Rusty Anderson also kept his Ward 4 seat in Gautier, defeating Billy Raysell Booth 186-140 in the only other contested races.

Gautier Mayor-elect Phil Torjusen beat Mayor Gordon Gollott in the Republican primary and had no general election competition.


In the only contested race, Republican Ron Roland defeated Democrat Francis Alainia Robinson 496-239 for the Ward 2 seat held by Ricky Dombrowski, who lost to Roland in the primary.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton

Gulfport results

Ward 2 councilman candidates

Total votes


Ron Roland (R)



Francis Alainia Robinson (D)