By Renee Johnson - email
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Retired banker George Schloegel and former public works director Clyde Williams will face off for Gulfport's top job this June. Both men easily won their primary races Tuesday night.
Schloegel garnered 67 percent of the vote over retired General Joe Spraggins. Schloegel spoke to a crowd of supporters gathered at The Dock restaurant in Gulfport, promising them that together they'd accomplish 20 years of work over the next four.
He also addressed a concern many people expressed during the campaign: the relationship between the mayor and council members.
"I pledge to you right from the start that Peggy and I will stand very close with the city council, to make sure that we continue the progress of this community. That we get the hurricane behind us, that we build the jobs, particularly the jobs at the state port, so we are ready for that port when it is built," Schloegel said.
"We thank the voters for giving us this confidence, and we promise you that we'll revere that confidence in our heart and do the kind of job that all of you will be proud of."
Schloegel's republican opponent all but conceded the race last week on "WLOX News This Week." Joe Spraggins said then that he probably wouldn't have run for mayor had he known Schloegel was going to join the race. The two men are friends and both spoke highly of each other throughout the race.
Spraggins told his supporters that he planned to support Schloegel in the general election, and encouraged them to do so as well.
George Schloegel faces Democrat Clyde Williams in the general election this June. Williams enjoyed a similar margin of victory over his opponent, Brian Dean, winning 68 percent of the vote.
Williams said his experience running the Gulfport Public Works Department gives him an edge over George Schloegel.
"Schloegel will be going in with no experience other than the financial part. Actual work force, he wouldn't know what is going on with that. He'll have to learn. He will have to be schooled by somebody else. I hate to say it, probably by the administration that is already in there," Williams told WLOX News.
Williams also said he wanted see family attractions like the Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo and Marine Life return to Gulfport.
"We want to make the future of Gulfport a nice tourist city like New Orleans. Cruise ships from New Orleans where people get off the dock and they'll go out and shop. That's what we want Gulfport to do," Williams said.
Click here to see all the results from Tuesday's primary election.