Savannah mayoral race headed to runoff as new council takes shape

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – While the election is over for many candidates, two vying for Mayor of Savannah will meet again in a runoff on Dec. 3.

Incumbent Mayor Eddie DeLoach says he is running on his record to serve “four more years.”

Alderman Van Johnson says it’s time for a change and believes the fact he got 46 percent of the vote to DeLoach’s 40 percent is a message from voters.

“I just think that it shows again, that message beats money any time,” he said, adding, “The people were very interested in having a city government that’s responsive to them and they felt that the results they’ve been getting so far were not good enough.”

Records indicate that DeLoach raised more than $200,000 during the campaign — up to 10 times the amount Johnson has raised.

“I think we ran a campaign on the facts and ran a campaign on results and it wasn’t divisive,” said DeLoach. “We’re together in this and we want to continue with that going forward for the next four years.”

Johnson said the runoff campaign is critical but that he has gained strength from his supporters. “It’s a people-driven process, we the people,” he said.

Three Savannah City Council incumbents lost to newcomers Tuesday night. In addition, there will be three other new members on the council because incumbents didn’t run.

DeLoach said, “whoever I end up with on council I can work with.” Meanwhile, Johnson has said he would work on building a “high functioning council.”

The other runoff on Savannah City Council is in District 6. Longtime Alderman Tony Thomas will face challenger Kurtis Purtee in December.

Thomas told News 3 the race was closer than he expected, but he said he’s held onto his seat for two decades and isn’t prepared to give it up now.

“I think my experience, I think the fact that I’ve got two decades of serving on the city council and the fact that we got just a very successful service to the district and I think that will parlay into extra votes when we go back out,” the alderman said of what sets him apart from his opponent.

Purtee issued a statement online on Tuesday night.

“In the next 30 days you will see my team and I continue to fight for you,” it reads, in part, “Remember that you are voting to bring your voice to city council.”

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