Editor’s Note: We have updated this story.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City voters selected a new mayor Tuesday night.
Dr. Michael ‘Doc’ Rohan was elected with approximately 52% of the vote, 2,553 votes. Greg Brudnicki had 48% of the vote, 2,382 votes.
The incumbent, Greg Brudnicki, served as Panama City’s mayor for the past 12 years. He led the city through two hurricanes, two bouts of COVID, and the biggest wildfire in the state of Florida. During the campaign, Brudnicki said that there is no substitute for strong leadership or proven experience, and he believes that his track record with dealing with these disasters and other obstacles in the three-and-a-half-year rebuild was enough to have him re-elected.
The challenger, Dr. Michael ‘Doc” Rohan, focused on what he called the city’s reckless spending, the raising of taxes on residents, and failure to address problems with the city’s infrastructure. He stated that if he was elected, he would attack the most serious issues first and spend the city’s money as if it was his own.
Rohan’s supporters gathered at ‘The Place’ in downtown Panama City to await the results. When one hundred percent of votes were reported, they began celebrating and congratulating Rohan on his victory. He said he is looking forward to bringing change as Panama City’s next mayor.
“I think that says that the voters were not pleased with the direction that the city was going and that they’re ready for a change,” Rohan said. “And that’s what I hope to do. I hope to bring some change to the city. I’ve felt for a long time, if you don’t like what’s going on, you have to jump into the political ring.”
Brudnicki’s supporters gathered at ‘The Tap Room’ in St. Andrews, waiting on the returns. As it became apparent he would not be reelected, Brudnicki was visibly upset and frustrated over the loss.
“Well, very sad,” Brudnicki said. “You know, I’ve given 12 years to the city. I know that we’ve gotten a lot of great things started off, you know, the hurricane was what, so many years ago, four years ago, four and half years ago. So many things that we’ve done to rebuild. I guess it just wasn’t quick enough for everybody.”
Rohan said he’s anxious to begin talking and working with the city commissioners and city manager Mark McQueen as soon as possible.