Diamondhead will have a new mayor
By Dwayne Bremer
May 8, 2013, 02:52
Tommy Schafer, his wife Camille and daughter Caroline share a hug Tuesday after Schafer won the Diamondhead Republican mayoral primary. Schafer will now take on Independent challenger John Fletcher in the June 4 general election.
Tommy Schafer won the Diamondhead Republican mayoral primary Tuesday, taking nearly 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
Tuesday's Republican primary was the only one in Diamondhead.
No Democratic candidates qualified for mayor or city council races.
Schafer, 46, collected 1,270 votes in the city's four wards. Mayor Chuck Ingraham finished second with 866, and Carl Necaise was a distant third with 137.
There are still about 150 absentee votes remaining to be counted, but even if Ingraham were to win all of those, Schafer would still have more than 50 percent of the vote.
Schafer will move on to the June 4 general election and take on Independent candidate John Fletcher.
"It's been a long four months," Schafer said Tuesday. "We got into the race because we thought we could do some good. Now, we see we can do a lot of good. We are one step closer tonight. It's all going to start over again tomorrow, but I would like to thank everyone who supported me. I'm looking forward to a bright future in Diamondhead and to be able to fulfill a lot of positive expectations."
In the city council races, Ward One Republican Joseph Lopez Jr. was the only clear-cut winner of the evening.
Lopez, 45, downed incumbent Hank Holcomb by taking 336 votes to Holcomb's 154.
Alvin Walsh III, who had withdrawn his name from consideration still garnered 26 votes because his name could not be taken off the ballot prior to the election.
Lopez does not have a challenger in the general election, meaning he is assured of being the Ward One councilman.
"It's a great feeling," Lopez said. "I'm glad it's over and I'm glad I don't have a runoff. I ran a clean race and I stayed focused on my race."
Lopez said his main goals are reducing taxes and eliminating duplication of fees.
In Wards Two and Three, there will be runoffs because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.
In Ward Two, Blaine Lafontaine was the leading vote-getter with 179, unofficial results show. Eric Nolan collected 148 and Joe Murray finished with 118.
There are no Democratic or Independent candidates in Ward Two, so the winner of the runoff will win the seat.
The runoff will be conducted on May 21.
In Ward Three, Kenny Schmitt and Tom Sislow were the top two vote-getters and they will move on to a runoff on May 21.
Schmitt collected 246 votes; Nolan 214; and Dominic Pallisi netted 145, unofficial results show.
The winner of the runoff will take on Independent candidate Michael Schaefer on June 4. In Ward Four, incumbent Ron Rech holds a razor-thin six-vote lead, however, absentee votes have yet to be added to the total.
Rech collected 327 votes to Jeffrey Chastain's 321.
Election official Lou Fuchs said that there are about 150 absentee ballots for all four wards. He said a technical issue prevented the absentee votes from being counted and added to totals on Tuesday. The absentee votes will be counted and added to totals this morning, he said.
The winner of the Ward Four primary will take on Independent J.C. Price on June 4.
In the council-at-large race, incumbent Ernie Knobloch won a convincing victory over challenger Kenny Edmonds.
Knobloch collected 1,223 votes to Edmonds' 918.
Knobloch will take on Constitutional Party candidate Ken Overstreet on June 4.