Southport is a waterfront city at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick County.
The coastal community has landed on notable lists over the years – including recognition from Coastal Living as Happiest Seaside Town in America. It’s famous as the location for the film Safe Haven. And it’s the home of North Carolina’s official Fourth of July Festival.
The City of Southport has grown by about 25% from 2010 to 2018, but it’s still considered a quaint waterfront town.
The two people vying to be the next mayor are facing off for the third time. In 2015, Joe Pat Hatem and Jerry Dove faced off in a close race. Dove won by about 7%. Two years later, Joe Pat Hatem challenged Mayor Dove again. This time, he came closer to victory – losing by just 1% -- or 13 votes. Now in 2019, the same two are in the race.
Jerry Dove is going after his third term as Mayor of the City of Southport. Before serving as Mayor, he spent twelve years as Chief of Police in the city. He also served in the City's Police Department as an officer, shift supervisor, and K-9 handler. He worked as a Master Trooper with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol for 26 years. He has served in the U.S. Army Reserve and the United States Air Force. In 2007, Jerry Dove was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Joe Pat Hatem, M.D., is a native of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina and a medical doctor who practices at Southport’s Dosher Memorial Hospital. It was thirty-plus years ago he says that he started moonlighting in Dosher’s Emergency Room while doing his residency at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.