D’head mayor’s race hinges on affidavit ballots
By Dwayne Bremer
May 16, 2017, 23:28
Kodie Koenenn and family celebrate his election as the Ward Four councilman in Diamondhead on Tuesday. In the mayoral runoff, Tommy Schafer leads Ernie Knobloch by one vote with seven affidavit ballots remaining to be counted.
The old adage that every vote counts rang true Tuesday in the Diamondhead mayoral runoff.
When the vote-counting was concluded Tuesday, incumbent Mayor Tommy Schafer led Ernie Knobloch by a single vote with seven affidavit votes remaining to be counted.
Schafer collected 1,124 votes to Knobloch's 1,123, unofficial results show.
Seven affidavit votes remain uncounted.
Republican committee Chairman Ty Necaise said Tuesday that the committee will audit the election results on Wednesday morning.
Affidavit votes are taken for a variety of reasons, but not all are always counted. Most of the time, affidavit ballots result from residency and/or homestead questions.
Once the race is audited, Necaise said, the committee will review the affidavit ballots to see if the voter is indeed a qualified elector.
If the vote is deemed a "good vote," it will be added to the total.
Schafer led most of the evening and was holding onto a 78-vote lead with only 209 absentee votes remaining.
Knobloch scored well in the absentees and narrowed the gap to one vote.
"What can you say about it?" Knobloch said. "We will just wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Schafer echoed the same thoughts.
"I don't really know what to say about this right now," he said.
Tuesday's runoff saw about 100 more votes than were cast in the primary two-weeks ago.
Knobloch was the leading vote-getter on May 2 by 28 votes; however, Schafer was able to make up the difference.
Schafer won wards One and Two, while Knobloch scored victories in wards Three and Four.
The only candidate who did not have to sweat Tuesday was Ward Four city council candidate Kodie Koenenn, who handily defeated incumbent Ron Rech by a total of 478 to 279.
"I am thankful, humbled, and thrilled by the support and the residents who returned to the polls to vote for me today," Koenenn said. "First, I would like to thank my family for their support, dedication, and hard work. I also want to thank Mr. Rech for a good race. Ron helped lay the foundation which I am honored to be able to build on. I am very proud to be able to represent the residents of Ward Four and help move our city forward."
Rech, who was one of the original members of the city council, said he is proud of what he was able to accomplish.
"I was surprised that it was not a little closer, but my opponent did a good job of campaigning. We did a lot over the past six years. I knew it would come to an end sooner or later."
Necaise said candidates and their representatives will be allowed to view the audit of the election.
The committee will then notify the candidates when and if the affidavits will be counted.
The vote is expected to be finalized Wednesday, but it could take up to five days, officials said.
There are no Democratic candidates in Diamondhead, so the June 6 general election is a mere formality. The new mayor and city council will be sworn in on June 7.