The residents of the City of Petal have elected Tony Ducker as their new mayor, although 52 pending affidavit ballots could force a runoff election in three weeks.
Final but unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary election – including absentee ballots – show Ducker garnered 814 votes, or 50%, ahead of opponent Jake Wilson, who pulled in 366 votes for 23%. Officials from Petal City Hall expect the affidavit ballots to be counted late Wednesday afternoon.
To avoid a runoff, a candidate must receive 50% of the votes plus one vote. If a runoff election is necessitated, it will be held April 27 between Ducker and Wilson.
The winner of the election will take over for current Mayor Hal Marx, who announced last year that he would not seek re-election. Because all Petal candidates ran as Republicans, no candidates will have competition for the upcoming general election.
“I’m blown away by the outpouring of support,” said Ducker, who represents Ward 5 on the Petal Board of Aldermen. “We did a lot of work and we had a plan from the outset, and our message resonated from one corner of this town to the other.
“It does look like it’s going to be a runoff, but as we’ve done this entire campaign, we’re going to hit the trail and get to work in one form or fashion. We’re grateful for the support so far, and also we’d like to congratulate (our opponents).”
Wilson, a 1998 graduate of Petal High School, served in the Navy for 20 years.
“I am proud of the turnout, and everybody that came out to vote today,” Wilson said. “I’m hoping that I can somehow make the runoff, and if I do, then I look forward to a good race.”
Behind Ducker and Wilson, candidate Karen Underwood Hession received 262 votes, or 16%, while candidate Jared Gould garnered 173 votes, or 11%.
Election results for the Petal Board of Aldermen are as follows:
Gerald Steele will serve as the new Ward 1 alderman, defeating opponent Bruce Ferguson 160 votes to 33. Steele, who is a teacher at Petal Primary School, will take over for the retiring David Clayton.
Steve Stringer, who ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election, will return as Ward 2 alderman. He received 291 votes, or 98%. Stringer, who was originally elected in 2001, is the owner of Locke Extermination and received his certification from the Mississippi Municipal League.
Pending affidavit ballots, Ward 3 appears to be headed for a runoff between current alderman Clint Moore and opponent Blake Nobles. Nobles pulled in 118 votes, or 45%, while Moore received 110 votes, or 42%. Moore was first elected to the board in 2014.
A third candidate for Ward 3, Kelly Shone Polk, received 32 votes, or 12%.
Craig Strickland will serve as the new Ward 4 alderman, garnering 156 votes for 67%. He will take over for current alderman Brad Amacker, who did not seek re-election.
John Brady Amacker received 43 votes for 18%, while Daniel D. Warren received 33 votes for 14%.
Drew Brickson ran away with the Ward 5 election, pulling in 432 votes for 96%. Brickson, a military veteran, is the current recipient of the Bobby Runnels Leadership Award, the most prestigious award given by the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce.
Current Ward 6 Alderman Craig Bullock ran unopposed and will return for another term with 95 votes, good for 93%. He is a graduate of Petal High School and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from William Carey University.
Current At-Large Alderman Mike Lott ran unopposed and will return for another term. He was elected last year after former alderman William King retired from the board.
Republican Executive Committee
Mayor Hal Marx ran unopposed for the Republican Executive Committee, which is tasked with helping Republican candidates get on the ballot. Marx received 683 votes; 324 voters cast a write-in ballot.