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A decisive win!

By Gene Coleman | Ocean Springs Record | June 4, 2013

Mayor Connie Moran is congratulated by supporters Tuesday night. Pictured with Moran are Karen Chance (left) and Ana Maria Rosato.

The people have spoken and elected Mayor Connie Moran to a third term.

At Moran's home Tuesday, supporters erupted in celebration at the announcement of Moran's re-election in what some called a landslide victory over candidate John McKay. Moran received 62 percent of the vote, taking 2,527 votes to McKay's 1,539.

Moran said it was a tough campaign and she felt good about the vote of confidence from the people of Ocean Springs.

"I did not expect this wide margin of victory. It's a very broad base of support and we're going to continue the progress," she said.

Moran said she looks forward to the accomplishments she can make in the next four years. Upcoming for the city is the widening of the eastern portion of Bienville Boulevard. There also are the anticipated BP restore funds, for which the city already submitted a list of wants and needs.


Mayor Connie Moran (center) with campaign volunteer Becky Feder (left) and consulant Ana Maria Rosato.

Moran has cited that many of her accomplishments in her two terms as mayor came from fulfilling the requests of the citizens and she looks forward to more public input in her third term.

The contest was heated at times and Moran was still negating accusations even after her victory.

"People criticize the spending but only 10 percent of the $40 million in projects during my term were spent on downtown," she said. "Ocean Springs is growing and there are more young professionals who want to be downtown and entertain. It's not like it was in 1950."

The buildup to the election was filled with stinging comments by supporters through social media. Moran said the nature of this race simply indicates the face of modern politics.

"It's just the way modern campaigns run," Moran said. "Politics is a tough business. You can't play football if you don't plan on getting hit once in a while."

Moran's campaign was focused on her accomplishments during her two terms and the awards the city received. McKay often came off as critical of Moran. One reporter asked Moran if she felt McKay's race might have been hurt by his comment that people who don't want to pay taxes should move out of the city.

"I can't really account for the things that come out of his mouth," Moran said.

While McKay's campaign was driven by friends and family, Moran had paid consultant Ana Maria Rosato, who was the communications director for Congressman Gene Taylor. Rosato put a great deal of her focus on social media and kept Moran's campaign positive.

"On our side it was all about being positive and about Connie and her accomplishments as mayor and the relationships she established," Rosato said. "She already had more than 4,000 friends on Facebook coming in. That's like a gold mine and it's people who are really engaged. They care."

While McKay drew the unspoken support of aldermen and the public support of Gov. Phil Bryant, Moran relied on support from citizens and business owners.

Paul Blacksmith, owner of Crooked Letter Brewing Company, pledged his support for Moran in a radio spot. He said he was eager to support her because of the support she showed he and his wife for establishing their brewery in Ocean Springs. That came after their application to do business in Vancleave was denied by the Jackson County Board of Supervisors.

Moran's supporters on Tuesday were ecstatic about having Moran as their mayor for a third term.

"She's done so much for our city," said Leah Snyder. "People think it's taxpayer money but she knows how to get grants. I think we're a lot better off than when she started."

Moran said she will continue her practice of holding long-term and short-term planning sessions that gather input from the Board of Aldermen and the public. As for her future, she is not putting a cap on when her run as mayor might end.

"I might just stay there forever, like Mayor (A.J.) Holloway," she said. "This community is my family. You see how passionate people are, or else they wouldn't be there for the city. There's no way we could do this alone as a city."

As of press time, Wednesday, McKay had not called Moran to concede the election nor to give congratulations.