In a surprise upset, Ocean Springs voters have gone in a new direction, electing political newcomer Shea Dobson, a conservative Republican, to be their mayor.
Dobson, 30, told the Sun Herald he won the seat with a mix of old-school knocking on doors and using social media.
“It still hasn’t hit me. It hasn’t sunken in,” Dobson said Tuesday night. “It’s a good night. Everyone here is hanging out and rejoicing.”
He said he plans to get the city “back to basics.” He said he will be a full-time mayor, work hard to expand the tax base, and “be a good steward of the city.”
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There was 750 fewer voters in this race than in 2013, and Dobson got about as many votes as John McKay did in that race, said incumbent Mayor Connie Moran.
“The haters were galvanized,” Moran said. “They were very good at a smear campaign. I tried to take the high road and not answer all the lies.”
“I’m very proud of my record, my accomplishments for our community and for the rebuilding of Ocean Springs after Hurricane Katrina, especially the Biloxi Bay Bridge walking path and Front Beach improvements.”
She also expressed pride over the Public Safety Center and Recreation Complex on Mississippi 57.
She said, “Ocean Springs will always be my home.”
The Sun Herald will update this story as more numbers are available for the aldermen races.
Voters in Ward 1 re-elected longtime incumbent Republican John Gill, giving him 72 percent of the vote.
Ward 2 voters elected Republican Rickey Authement, who has recently served as the head of the city Planning Commission.
Ward 4 voters elected Republican Ken Papania over Democrat Elizabeth Feder-Hosey, and Ward 5 voters elected Republican Robert Blackman over Democrat Matthew Pavlov.
Alderman at-large Bobby Cox and Ward 6 Alderman Mike Impey return to office unopposed.
Last month, voters in Ward 3 elected Joey Bellman in the Republican runoff, replacing long-time incumbent Chic Cody.
Aldermen Matt McDonnell, Greg Denyer and Jerry Dalgo did not seek re-election.
Ocean Springs results
Shea Dobson (R)
Connie Moran (D)
Ward 1 Alderman
John Gill (R)
Roxanne Samies (D)
Ward 2 Alderman
Rickey Authemant (R)
Michael Pleasant (D)
Ward 4 Alderman
Ken Papania (R)
Elizabeth Feder-Hosey (D)
Ward 5 Alderman
Robert Blackman (R)
Matthew Pavlov (D)