PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City’s mayoral race is heating up ahead of next month’s run-off election. Incumbent Greg Brudnicki and challenger Michael “Doc” Rohan both failed to receive 50% plus 1 vote during last week’s municipal elections.
When the polls closed last Tuesday, Brudnicki had received 47% of the votes. Rohan received 41% percent.
Tuesday night, they each had different reactions to the results.
“I was disappointed, of course, and, just I was trying to figure out how it could have been as low as it was and thinking about the message that we put out and did we get our message out correctly and what do we need to do to make sure that we get more people out to vote?” Brudnicki said.
“I was elated when I saw those numbers, because if you looked at those numbers closely, more than half of the people in Panama City are not happy with what’s going on so to me, that tells me that I’m on the right track,” Rohan said.
Both are now preparing for the runoff election on May 16.
Brudnicki said if re-elected he will continue pushing for funds to complete road, sewer and water, and marina projects.
“We’re going to get out and work, we’re going to make sure we contact our voters and make sure we contact our citizens make sure that people know all the great, wonderful things that we’ve gotten accomplished in the last 12 years,” Brudnicki said.
Rohan said he is against the fire tax assessment and the process the current mayor uses to prioritize problems around the city. He knows every vote counts this time around.
“Try to communicate with them and the message that they need to get is that they can make a difference because this is a winner-take-all now, there’s not going to be any ties,” Rohan said. “It’s a winner and a loser and I want to be the winner.”
Brenda Lewis-Williams only received 12% of the vote, knocking her out of the mayor’s race. However, it hasn’t stopped her from endorsing one of the two remaining candidates.
“I am going to ask my supporters to support Greg Brudnicki, as I am going to do at this juncture, whether we like what he has done or not done, he, unlike Michael Rohan, has not disrespected me,” Lewis-Williams said.
Lewis-Williams claims that disrespect happened on a radio show.
“His campaign was running my platform on 101 talk radio, obviously, I was not very happy about that,” Lewis-Williams said. “He participated in verbal plagiarism and anyone who has written a paper from high school on knows that when you’re using someone else’s material, you cite that person.”
News 13 asked Rohan if he was aware of her endorsing Brudnicki. He said it was not something he knew and denied the accusations.
“Those were all my ideas, too, they were probably her ideas also so it’s very likely that we had the same ideas, but I certainly didn’t take any from her, and I don’t believe she took any from me,” Rohan said. “We were very independent sorts. We got along well, and actually, since her voters voted against the mayor, I’m surprised that she endorsed him.”
Brudnicki and Rohan will both continue to campaign throughout Panama City between now and election day.
Brenda Lewis-Williams said she is not receiving any incentives to endorse Brudnicki. She chose to do that because she is unhappy with his campaign team for what she calls verbal plagiarism.