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Fact or Fiction? Fact checking candidates in Mobile mayor's race

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Monday Local 15 News moderated the first mayoral debate in Mobile. Incumbent Sandy Stimpson squared off with former mayor Sam Jones. Claims were made regarding crime and the city's financial state. Today, we are fact checking what the candidates said.

A focal point this campaign: crime in Mobile.

"Crime it's higher than its been in some time now or maybe ever," said Jones in the debate.

This is not true. While the murder rate did increase from 2015 to 2016, crime stats show the overall crime rate in the city is trending downward and has been for years.

Race relations in the city is also a hot button issue. Jones pointed out Stimpson's membership to the Comic Cowboys and the group’s signs that many found racially offensive in this year's Mardi Gras parade. He accused Stimpson of quitting only due to media pressure.

"The resignation came only after the media found out," said Jones.

This does not appear to be the case. The first media report was one week after Fat Tuesday, and by that point, Stimpson had already resigned. We requested a copy of the resignation letter to confirm the date but did not receive it as of this publication.

The candidates also debated the city's financial state when Jones left office.

"I don't think the rainy day fund was at ever zero," said Jones.

But an audit done in 2013 showed the city in the red $4.2 million when Stimpson took office.

We also allowed candidates to ask each other questions. Jones wanted to know why he wasn't invited in 2015 to the Airbus inauguration event, especially after being part of the team that was instrumental in landing the mega project for the Port City.

"That list for Airbus was created by Airbus," said Stimpson.

Airbus today confirmed it's standard practice to invite elected officials currently serving.

To watch the full debate click here.

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