Diamondhead has a new city councilman -- Shane Finley was declared the unofficial winner of the special Ward 1 Council election on Tuesday, defeating Gerard Maher 99-85.

"It is my sincere pleasure to throw my full support behind Shane and look forward to a growing prosperous Diamondhead," Maher said on social media Tuesday evening.

"They had a good, clean race," City Manager Michael Reso said Tuesday. "Now it's all over, until next month."

There was still one affidavit ballot which must be certified on Wednesday before Finley is officially declared the winner, City Clerk Jeannie Klein said, but afterwards, Finley should be cleared to take office immediately.

Finley will replace Nancy Depreo on the council after she was elected mayor in October.

Although the turnout Tuesday seemed rather low, city officials said it was typical for a special election which only features a race in one ward, particularly considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been a heavy election season for Diamondhead voters — on top of the national primary and general elections this year, they’ve also had to head to the polls for three city elections, including Tuesday's race.

The first city election this year occurred on March 3, when Diamondhead residents elected Charles S. “Chuck” Clark to fill the vacancy Ward 4 Councilman Kodie Koenenn left after being elected to the Hancock County Board of Supervisors last year.

Depreo was elected mayor on Oct. 20 in the wake of the untimely death of Mayor Thomas E. “Tommy” Schafer. She was sworn in at the first council meeting of November.

While Tuesday's vote was the last of the year, Klein said, it’s only a temporary breather — the general election for the mayor’s position and all four council seats is scheduled for June 8, 2021.

Qualifying begins on Jan. 4 for all seats, she said, with a qualifying deadline of Feb. 5. The primary election is scheduled for April 6, with any necessary runoff to be held on April 27.

The winners of those races will be officially sworn into office on the first Monday in July.

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