As was expected, the result of the August 6 primary is a general election rematch of incumbent Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler and her opponent from the 2015 mayoral contest, Susan Conniry, who was elected to the local City Council in 2017.
“The results of the primary represent the hard work of our campaign team. I’m pleased and grateful to the citizens of Ocean Shores,” Conniry said, after learning that she led the initial mayoral primary ballot count. Updated totals show Conniry with 1,030 votes against Dingler’s 909 votes.
Dingler commented, “Obviously I’m disappointed. We were hoping to have done a little better, but we haven’t really started the battle yet, so it will be interesting to see how this comes out.”
Two candidates were eliminated, local business owner and builder Dan Marlowe and retiree Carlos Roldan.
When asked by the North Coast News, “What is this election about?” Dingler responded, “It’s really about what Ocean Shores wants to be and where we want to go. We have an opportunity to move forward — kind of bootstrap ourselves up to what we want to be — and still protect our environment. We can sit back and do nothing or really move forward and become what we want to be and what we have the capacity to be. I think we have great capacity.”
Conniry answered the same question by stating, “Citizens have found their voice. We’ve been saying that for a long time. The people’s vote tonight demonstrates they’ve found their voice.”
Her comment echoes the statement she made after Dingler defeated her in the 2015 mayor’s race, when the incumbent elected to her second term by 457 votes, winning 61.35% of 2,013 ballots cast.
Conniry also said, “I want to particularly reach out to my opponents who did not make the cut this evening, thank them for their passion and invite them and their supporters to join us.”
Both candidates were asked, “What is the #1 thing you will do as mayor to increase tourism?” Conniry said she was not ready, just hours after the primary, to offer a detailed response. “It’s a big question that deserves a big answer. Tourism is intensely important to the future of Ocean Shores.” She added, “I have a lot of ideas,” and directed folks to her campaign website, www.susanformayor.org.
Dingler said her top effort would be “to do more marketing. That’s something we have just begin this year and I think we’ve got a real opportunity to get out there and take a larger market share.”