SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV)- November 7 is right around the corner, meaning Savannah residents have only a few weeks left to decide who they’ll vote for in the mayoral race.
The second forum for Savannah’s mayoral candidates took place on Tuesday at the Coastal Georgia Center. This marks the second opportunity for candidates to convince voters they were the right person to lead the city.
They discussed some of the biggest issues on voters’ minds, like crime and cost of living.
As things stand, there are still two major contenders in the race: an incumbent and a current Alderwoman who is looking to pull off an upset win. Mayor Van Johnson, Alderwoman At-Large Kesha Gibson Carter, and Tyrisha Davis participated in the forum.
In the last few weeks of campaigning, Johnson has relied heavily on his track record as mayor.
“You have never seen me act anything but mayoral,” he said at the first debate.
Gibson-Carter, though, says she has a new vision for the city, positioning herself as what she called “an alternative to what we see in our community.” She has placed her focus on eliminating new taxes and keeping costs down.
“To the dissenters and detractors on the council, by way of my colleagues, read my lips: no new taxes,” she said recently.
However, on the topic of millage rates, otherwise known as property tax rates, Johnson appeared to insinuate Gibson Carter doesn’t have a handle on the issues.
“It doesn’t happen like that. The way that governments realize the majority of funds is through property taxes,” he said of her idea not to introduce any new taxes.
On crime, Mayor Johnson has highlighted his administration’s efforts to tackle crime by engaging the community.
“We’re not going be satisfied until we have a year with zero crime in this community,” he said.
“Let’s reconnect you in a way that makes you successful. Let’s connect you with your family. Let’s connect you with employment. Let’s connect you with housing,” he continued.
Gibson-Carter has cited the quote “rising crime” as a major issue throughout her campaign.
According to a report from Savannah PD, crime increased only slightly overall from 2021 to 2022, but cases of aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a gun saw larger increases, at 14 and 23 percent.
Tuesday was the last day for voter registration for the Nov. 7 election.