Savannah residents cast their votes last Tuesday, November 5th in the city’s municipal election. Several of the candidates have been officially elected, while the Mayor and Alderman for District 6 require a runoff.
With a total of over 24,000 votes, incumbent Savannah Mayor Eddie W. DeLoach received 40% of the population votes. Meanwhile, Van R. Johnson, his challenger, received 46% of the votes. However, Johnson’s 46% is not enough to make the final decision. Regina Thomas received 3,347 votes at 14% and Louis Wilson received 209 votes at 1%. The runoff election will be held on Tuesday, December 3rd. Voters are highly encouraged to come out and support their candidate.
In the election for the Aldermanic seats, Kesha Gibson Carter unseated incumbent Carol Bell for Alderman at Large Post 1. Alicia Blakely took victory over Tony Center for Alderman at Large Post 2. Bernetta Lanier won Alderman District 1. Detric Leggett unseated incumbent Bill Durrence. Linda Wilder Bryan took victory over incumbent John Hall. Nick Palumbo (District 4) and Estelle Shabazz (District 5) ran unopposed.
DeLoach was elected Mayor of Savannah in 2015. Prior to that election, he served as Commissioner for Chatham County’s 7th District from 1992-2000.
Johnson has served as Alderman for District 1 for the last 16 years. He left that seat in order to become a candidate for Mayor of Savannah. After the election, he was more than elated knowing that the people of Savannah are in favor of him becoming Mayor. Although he did not raise anywhere near the amount of money as De- Loach did for his campaign, he let the results speak for themselves. During an interview with Johnson the night of the election he said, “I just think it shows again, that message beats money any time. The people were very interested in having a city government that’s responsive to them and they felt the results they’ve been getting so far were not good enough.”
Aldermanic candidates for District 6 will also engage in a runoff election. With over 4,000 votes in total, incumbent Tony Thomas received 47% of the votes while Kurtis Purtee, the challenger, received 39% of the votes and Antonio Hunter received 14% of the votes. With neither candidate reaching the 51% mark, voters will have a second chance to choose between the top two candidates. Thomas was first elected in 1999 and is the longest serving member on the city council. Although he did not receive enough votes to secure his position, he is still confident that the people will support him and his vision on public safety and neighborhood centers. During an interview after the election Thomas said, “I hope the folks will look at the good things that I have done in the 20 years that I’ve been in office from drainage all the way up to parks, look at all those things that my heart and soul is invested in making this district better and making the city better.”
Purtee built his campaign on honesty and being transparent. His goal is to bring change to leadership and the city’s budget by speaking to the people in District 6 and listen to changes they have been longing for. With only 39% of the votes, he is still confident in taking home the win.