More Republicans ran in more municipalities than ever before this election cycle, and the results were good for the MSGOP.
The biggest win was newcomer Shea Dobson defeating three-term incumbent Democrat Connie Moran in Ocean Springs. Republicans also defended all of the Aldermen seats, meaning Ocean Springs will be fully red come July.
— Sun Herald (@sunherald) June 7, 2017
Down the road on the Coast in both directions Republicans had stellar nights, defending their Council or Alderman majorities, as well as making gains.
New Pascagoula mayor Dane Maxwell will have an added Republican to the Council majority there while Bay St. Louis will seat a Republican majority on their board for the first time ever. This has to sting Democrat House Minority Leader David Baria a good bit since it’s in his own backyard.
It seems Baria had a tough time understanding the numbers.
Really? GOP alternative facts? pic.twitter.com/5dAwQbVbUg
— David Baria (@dbaria) June 7, 2017
North of the Coast, Republican Darwin Nelson won the Lucedale mayor’s race, handing the MSGOP their first such win in the county seat of George County, and the Lucedale board will also have a Republican majority.
The PineBelt saw a similar trend, with Republicans holding on to their seats and making gains here and there, such as in Ellisville where there will be a new Republican mayor and board majority.
The biggest news out of the PineBelt is definitely the defeat of longtime Democrat Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree by Republican state representative turned Independent mayoral candidate Toby Barker. After a contentious election in 2013 that resulted in months of legal battles, Barker soundly won leaving DuPree to concede fairly early in the night.
— Hattiesburg American (@hburgamerican) June 7, 2017
Republicans also protected their various seats and majorities in metro area and DeSoto County cities, turning back Democrats’ best efforts in various Republican strongholds and even in borderline areas that could have gone either way.
The Mississippi Democrat Party sent out this tweet last night in an attempt to spin an otherwise bad night for the liberal party:
Dems flipping Republican seats in DeSoto County, youngest city councilman in Meridian, and Democratic council majority in Starkville!
— MS Democratic Party (@msdemocrats) June 7, 2017
The “Dems flipping Republican seats in DeSoto County” part of that tweet looks to only be a one seat gain in what in a heavily minority area of Horn Lake.
And in Starkville, Republicans maintained their board seats there. College towns and majority minority areas have and will be a challenge for Republicans to win but there is hope based on Tuesday’s results. In Oxford, Republicans picked up a seat on that board while in Moss Point Republican mayoral candidate John Mosley Jr., an African American, came in second to the Democrat winner Mario King (which has been profiled here) reaching around 23% of the vote and besting incumbent Democrat turned Independent Billy Broomfield, a longtime former Democrat state representative.
As for Meridian, yes, the Queen City was one area the Republicans lost a board majority, retaining only one seat on that board. However, that was not unexpected given the electoral trends in Meridian. But the “youngest city councilman” they reference is still facing marijuana and traffic violations in North Carolina the last time we checked, so that will be worth keeping an eye on.
Republicans also picked up a seat in the Delta with Kirk Povall in Cleveland switching and winning, becoming the first Republican municipal official in the area, and New Albany will have their first ever Republican majority board.
One race to keep an eye on as final results are tallied today is the South Ward Alderman race in Vicksburg. Republican state Rep. Alex Monsour is up by a handful of votes with a couple dozen affidavits still to be counted.
Overall, Tuesday’s results show that Republicans are making inroads on the local level and that trend is likely to continue through to the next municipal election cycle, which should make Democrats and their chair Bobby Moak very nervous about future prospects.
The results should also give local officials confidence that if they are thinking of switching parties to the Republican side now is the time. You can’t be a Democrat and a conservative any longer in Mississippi; principles and values matter.
*** UPDATE: Rep. Alex Monsour has won the South Ward Alderman seat in Vicksburg. ***