The voters have spoken and Greg Bennett, a political newcomer, will be the City of Swainsboro’s next mayor. He defeated Shayna Boston by a margin of 348 votes, 868–520, as reported by the Emanuel County Office of Elections on Tuesday night shortly after 8:30 p.m. (The only exclusion to this data is four provisional ballots.)
“I want to thank everybody who voted. I am extremely humbled by the support I received throughout my campaign, and I’m thankful for the public believing in me and electing me to be mayor,” Bennett said moments after the announcement. “I don’t want to let anybody down; just give me time to fix things. Miracles don’t happen overnight, but I’m ready to work. Let’s change this together.”
The race for mayor came down to Bennett and Boston after Charles Schwabe removed his name from the ballot in September.
If the timeline used in the past holds true, Bennett should be sworn into office the first council meeting in January. He will hold a four-year term as mayor and, according to promises made on the campaign trail, he will prioritize budgetary issues and try to grow the town.
This election also determined a number of races that will relate to his mayorship in that the some faces of Swainsboro City Council will change.
Incumbent Johnny Ray Stafford won Ward 3, beating challenger K.E. McNeal 156–105.
There will be a runoff between Ward 1 leaders DJ Davis, who received 108 votes, and Sue Bragg, who received 103 votes. Luis Machado, the third candidate in the Ward 1 race, received 26 votes.
Bobbie Collins re-enters here position as the Ward 4 representative on Swainsboro City Council. She was first elected in November 2005.
Additionally, Gregory “Greg” Quarterman, as the only qualifier, will take a seat around the council table in the near future to represent Ward 6, filling the vacancy left by long-time councilperson Rita Faulkner’s decision to not seek re-election.
Stillmore returns its two incumbents to its city council, Susan Mincey (49 votes) and Kymberly Bowman (44 votes). Colleen Slater Duckworth and Patti Purcell received 31 and 16 votes respectively in their first political campaigns.
Lastly, by a vote of 1,755–407, voters across the county approved a continuation of the $0.01 Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax, also known as “ESPLOST,” which has been approved every year on the ballot since 1997.