Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Van Johnson, Kurtis Purtee triumph in Savannah runoff elections

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2019 at 9:29 PM

After saying earlier in the day to "mark my words" that the mayoral race would be within 100 votes, incumbent Mayor Eddie DeLoach was defeated by a much larger margin by Van Johnson, who will take office in January as the next mayor of Savannah.

In the end, the margin of victory for Johnson in today's runoff election was nearly the same as in the general election last month, where Johnson heavily outperformed DeLoach, but failed to break the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.

He prevailed in the runoff with 14,884 votes — about 60 percent of the total — as opposed to only 9,291 for DeLoach.

DeLoach's campaign had made a number of missteps the last week of the campaign, including a controversial Facebook post by his son which many observers found to be race-baiting, and several heavily negative mailers.

Johnson's campaign, on the other hand, was helped by a late visit from high-profile Democrat Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost in the race for Georgia governor.

In the other runoff, controversial 20-year Sixth District Alderman Tony Thomas was defeated by challenger Kurtis Purtee, 2,529 votes to 2,218, after a race marked by an escalation of personal attacks by Thomas.

The runoffs complete a near 100 percent overhaul of Savannah City Council, as only a single incumbent, Fifth District Alderwoman Estella Shabazz (who ran unopposed), will remain in the same seat from the last four years. (Johnson had represented the First District for 16 years on Council.)
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