DAPHNE – Voters in Spanish Fort and Daphne will return to the polls Oct 6 to decide who will be mayor of the cities for the next four years.
Robin LeJeune and Steve Carey be in the runoff for Daphne mayor. In Spanish Fort, incumbent Mike McMillan will face challenger Rebecca “Becky” Cornelius.
LeJeune, a City Council member, took 1,545 votes, or 44.2 percent. Carey, a retired Air Force colonel, received 1,497, or 42.8 percent. A third candidate, Selena Vaughn, received 457 votes. Incumbent Mayor Dane Haygood did not run for re-election.
LeJeune, who is current City Council president, said his record over his last eight years in office shows that he is the best candidate for the office.
“I’ve proven what I can do in the last eight years,” LeJeune said. “We’ve protected Daphne from development, worked with the schools. We’ve improved the animal shelter. When you walk through Daphne, you can see what’s been done and I plan to keep working on that and working for the people of Daphne.”
LeJeune said he and his supporters will continue campaigning for the office.
“We’re super excited. We received the most votes out of the city and we’re thankful for all the support from all the people who came out,” LeJeune said. “We’re going to be getting back started, knocking on doors and talking to people, reaching out to people. We ran a grass-roots campaign, listening to them and talking about what I’ve done and plan to do.”
Carey said his experience as an Air Force officer and corporate executive overseeing hundreds of employees puts him in a better position to lead Daphne.
“Daphne is at that fork in the road where we can sort of continue with the same, grow up though the system and step into the leadership role if you’re capable, but I honestly think that from a distinct difference between the two is I have that leadership, that ability to vision, to strategize and pull people together,” Carey said. “You can be a nice guy. You can have all those skills, social skills that make people like you. That’s important, but what’s even more important is the ability to pull a working group together, to collaborate with the council and really shape a vision for the city and that is not an easy task, no matter what kind of organization, but especially one the size of Daphne.”
He said Daphne is changing and needs new leadership.
“We can kind of continue small-town politics as we have in the past, or we can focus on picking the kind of mayor that I think will chart a path and be able to put a plan together, a comprehensive 20-year plan that really will be a great road map for the city of Daphne,” Carey said.
In Spanish Fort, McMillan received 545 votes, or 45.8 percent of the total. Cornelius received 344 votes, 28.9 percent. Jeffery Batley took 257 votes and David Westerfield received 44.
McMillan said he was looking forward to campaigning in the runoff.
“I’m very happy to have made the runoffs,” McMillan said. “People know the issues and I got the most votes out of all the candidates by far. I’m going to campaign on my record and I’m looking forward to the Oct, 6 runoff.”
Cornelius said she was pleased to make the runoff.
“I’m honored that the citizens of Spanish Fort. I’m just so thrilled that they came out to support me and to stand up for what is right,” Cornelius said. “I’m optimistic. The citizens spoke and I’m listening. I think it’s great that they have come out to support me and I look forward to giving them more ideas about what I have for the citizens of Spanish Fort.”
She said she decided to run because Spanish Fort is ready for a change.
“Because I’m a concerned citizen for Spanish Fort and I want to go in a different direction than the city has been going in and I’m looking forward to having new ideas and new perspective of what the city needs,” Cornelius said. It was an accumulation of different issues and I’m so happy to have been part of this. I’m just so thrilled that the citizens have come out. I’ve met some wonderful people and I’m so happy to represent them for Spanish Fort.”
Spanish Fort voters in District 3 will also decide on their City Council member. Shane Perry and Wanda Finch will face each other in a runoff for the seat held by Bobby Fortenberry who is not running for re-election. Perry received 106 votes, which Finch received 76. Candidate Earby Markham received 32.
Other Spanish Fort council members will include incumbents Curt Smith, J.R. Smith and Mary Brabner. Newcomer Carl Gustafason will also take office on the council.
In Daphne, incumbents Tommie Conaway, Joel Coleman, Doug Goodlin, Angie Phillips and Ron Scott will return for a new term. Newcomers Steve Olen and Ben Hughes will also take office on the council when the new term begins Nov. 2.