By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
After all ballots were counted, two of the three mayoral candidates running for the unexpired term of mayor of South Padre Island will face each other in a June runoff election. The special election was necessary due to Mayor Dennis Stahl stepping down from office for personal reasons back in February.
For any of the three candidates to have won the election outright, 50 percent plus one was the necessary total number of votes to be victorious. After tabulating all the ballots cast from both early voting and Election Day voting, Darla Jones emerged with a decisive margin over her two opponents with 417 votes. Patrick McNulty garnered 285 votes to come in second place, and Clayton Brashear accrued 244, placing third and thus eliminated from contention.
According to Nikki Soto, Public Information Officer for the City of South Padre Island, there have been some questions regarding the discrepancy between the total number of votes cast versus the number each candidate received. To dispel any confusion, Soto noted that even blank ballots get counted as votes. So, even though the individual vote count totaled 946, in actuality there were 950 ballots cast.
All three candidates commented on Election Day, expressing optimism for a positive outcome. Brashear, who was across the street from City Hall waving campaign signs at passers-by, said “I feel great. I think that the Island needs somebody like me. I have been here 40 years, so I really love the Island and I want it to prosper. I want to create jobs and bring more tourists to the Island, and I think I’m the right person to do that.”
Jones held one last meet and greet at the Grapevine Cafe on Election Day. From her corner table, Jones commented on how she was feeling prior to the results. “I’m feeling energized, excited, and looking forward to serving as the next mayor of South Padre Island.” To those who voted for her, she said, “Thank you for the support and I do not intend to disappoint anybody. I intend to impress everybody and move SPI in a positive direction for our future.”
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