With many still focused on this year’s presidential election, Mobile’s 2017 mayoral campaign has already gotten underway, as Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced his bid for a second term last week.
“We are destined to be a great city that is the envy of the state, the region, and the country,” Stimpson said in a campaign video. “I’m proud of our momentum, but there’s still a lot of work left to do.”
Stimpson — who hadn’t held previously held public office — was first elected in 2013, defeating two-term incumbent Sam Jones. In his announcement, Stimpson touted the city’s economic progress during his administration. “For the first time in years, Mobile is on solid financial footing,” a voiceover says in the video, referring to the $45 million in city debt which Stimpson has cut since taking office. Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the city’s rating outlook from negative to stable.
The video also highlighted new aerospace suppliers which have located in Mobile, the revitalization of the St. Louis Street corridor, and the impending return of Carnival Cruise Lines to the Port City.
Stimpson’s tenure as mayor hasn’t been without controversy, however. Some residents were disappointed with his response to Mobile police officer Harold Hurst’s fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Moore earlier this year, an issue Stimpson indirectly acknowledged in his campaign announcement.
“We’ve pushed for transparency, and an honest conversation about race relations and the impact of poverty in our city,” Stimpson said in the video. “I’ve personally walked door to door all across Mobile with the police chief, hearing your concerns. We’ve listened, and together we’ve improved the relationship between police and all Mobilians. I won’t stop until there’s justice. Together we will become One Mobile.”
Fifty-six percent of Mobile residents gave Stimpson an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade as mayor in a poll released last November by WKRG. Another 21 percent gave Stimpson a ‘C’ while 15% gave him a ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade.
Mobile’s mayoral election will take place on August 22, 2017. Former mayor Sam Jones told the Mobile Press-Register in September that he was “strongly considering” challenging Stimpson for the job.