Former mayor Ken Combs defeated incumbent mayor Bob Short by about 800 votes in Tuesday night's republican primary runoff election. Combs received 3,813 votes, or 56 percent, to Short's 2,951, or 44 percent of the vote. Only about 18 percent of registered voters in Gulfport made it out to the polls today.
Combs attributes his win in the runoff to addressing the issues that voters wanted.
"What made me victorious was bringing the issues to the voters. They analyzed them, and they agreed with me. I'm happy tonight because they voted for me," Combs said. "I intend to work real hard on economic development these next four years. I intend to work hard on developing economic issues."
In addressing the crowd that gathered to celebrate his win, Combs also said if elected, he wants to resolve the controversy surrounding the city's new Sportsplex facility. Some Gulfport residents say that people from outside the area are getting priority over local children who want to play there.
"We built a rental facility for an outfit out of Memphis, Tenn., and what I had intended to build was a sports complex mainly for the young people of Gulfport. I want to look at the contract on that, and see what our rights as a city are, and return that complex to the people for which it was built."
Combs will now face democrat Zachary Beasley and independent Gordon Lewis in the general election on June 5th.
Four years ago, current Mayor Bob Short defeated Combs and has led the city over the past term. Despite Tuesday's loss, Short says he intends to stay active in politics.