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Pass Christian elects new mayor

Pass Christian’s new mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott won this week’s election by a landslide, and he’s ready to begin the task of rebuilding a city heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

McDermott received 1,007 of the 1,504 votes cast in Tuesday’s election, according to the city’s election committee. His opponents, Margaret Jean Kalif and Alice Russell, received 197 votes and 300 votes, respectively.

McDermott, 56, has served as mayor pro-tem since former Mayor Billy McDonald resigned nearly two months ago.

He knows one of his biggest challenges will be helping his city recover from the storm.

“That’s going to be a daunting experience,” he said.

Katrina hit Pass Christian hard. The city lost most of its downtown buildings, much of its tax base, and about half its population.

“My first job is to get acclimated like we’ve been doing. Get everybody in Pass Christian together,” said McDermott. “And if we can get them all together on the same page, I don’t think anything can stop us really.”