Gulfportians have spoken: Sam Henderson has won the first open mayor’s seat in almost 30 years with almost 65% of the vote.
“I am extremely grateful for all the help I had throughout the campaign,” a jubilant Sam Henderson said Tuesday night shortly after the results came in “and I will do my best to be an excellent mayor.”
Of the 1,752 votes cast for Mayor Henderson (as opposed to the 971 cast for his opponent, Bob Worthington), 980 came in as early ballots and 772 came in on election day.
In 2009, Sam Henderson won the Ward Four seat with a total of 786 votes (39.7% of the total). Mr. Henderson won every precinct except for Precinct 208, which went to Courtland Yarborough who garnered 474 votes, or 23.94% of the total vote. Incumbent Mary Stull (who this election donated money to Bob Worthington’s campaign) and former St. Pete Beach deputy city clerk Pam Prell came in third and fourth in that race, respectively. In 2011, Mr. Henderson had no opponents for his Ward Four seat.
In 2004, Bob Worthington won his Ward Three seat with 814 votes, 73 more than his opponent, Harry Brodhead. In 2006, he had no opposition. In 2008, he beat unknown Angela Lenier by 471 votes, taking just over 57% of the vote (ballots cast were 1892 for Mr. Worthington and 1421 for Ms. Lenier.) He stepped down in 2010, telling the Gabber he wanted to spend more time with his family, although in recent debates and interviews he amended that answer to cite pressure from the Republican party to accept donations as his true reason.
In the 2007 mayoral election – outgoing mayor, Mike Yakes, had no opponents in the 2010 race – Mayor Yakes won re-election with just over 50% of the 2535 votes cast.
City Clerk Lesley DeMuth will swear in Mayor Henderson at Tuesday’s night meeting, as well as the two new councilmembers.
1514 Gulfportians returned mail ballots (3375 requested). Early voting showed 980 votes for Sam and 597 for Bob Worthington.
Gulfport has 8574 registered voters, just over 31% of which voted in Tuesday’s election.