May 11, 2001 at 8:13 PM CDT - Updated July 1 at 8:35 AM
It is the race everybody in Gulfport is talking about. In the Republican mayoral primary this coming Tuesday, current Mayor Bob Short is opposed by former Mayor Ken Combs. The race has turned ugly, at a recent political forum both men used the word liar to describe the other.
Bob Short and Ken Combs were in our studios today for a taping of Newswatch This Week, and almost immediately, WLOX's Doug Walker asked both about calling each other liars.
Ken Combs said, "The people handling Mr. Short's campaign are writing materials for him that are lies, yes sir.
But, when Bob Short was asked if Ken Combs is lying, he responded.
" No sir, what we said was the truth was not being put out in the materials being distributed by his campaign. "
The mayor says his campaign has taken a more aggresive tone, because he feels people were starting to believe allegations made by the Combs campaign.
Both candidates also continued to disagree about several issues. Including whether the city is now deeply in debt, and the purchase of Orange Grove Utilities. Combs said Mayor Short is partly responsible for the price the city paid for the company.
" As soon as I lost the mayor's race, it came out of court and went into negotiation with a team appointed by Mayor Short."
But, Short countered that claim was wrong. "I did not appoint the negotiating group, the city council did that, and you had two council members doing the negotiating."
The discussion ended with Ken Combs saying Bob Short is a mayor who should be more involved in the city's business. Mayor Short defended his record, and told the audience that Ken Combs certainly realizes that on city matters, the council votes, but not the mayor. The runoff election is this coming Tuesday.