Daron Lee on Tuesday became the first black person to win a citywide election in Warner Robins, edging Eric Langston in the Post 1 runoff.
When he takes office in January, it will also be the first time the city has had two black council members.
Langston held a slight lead with only one precinct left, but that was the Post 5 district that Lee represented before stepping aside to run unsuccessfully for mayor in 2013. He won that precinct 280-70, for a total of 1,281 votes to 1,146 for Langston. The turnout was only 6.2 percent.
“Excited, exhausted and ready to be engaged with the council,” he said when asked his reaction to the result.
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Lee stood alone in the center of council chambers watching the results come in on a big screen, with his campaign manager Louise McBride seated behind him. He never reacted until the last results were posted, then he erupted in joy, sharing a long tearful embrace with McBride.
“He’s a good person and he is going to do a fantastic job,” McBride said.
Asked what he thought about being the first black person to win an at-large race in the city, Lee said, “I’m deeply humbled. It took the support of all the citizens of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds in the city of Warner Robins for this point in history to be made tonight.”
The race was to fill the at-large seat vacated by Chuck Shaheen, who tried unsuccessfully to reclaim the mayor’s seat he gave up four years ago.
In the Nov. 7 general election, Langston was the top vote getter with 2,297 votes, or 36 percent, followed by Lee, with 2,144, or 34 percent. Jim Taylor had 1,301 votes, 20 percent, and Jeffery Walker had 564 votes, or 9 percent. The turnout in that election was 17 percent.
Langston and Lee waged a friendly battle in the runoff, and when specifically asked recently what they did not agree on, they could not think of anything.
Lee will be the first new face on City Council since 2014. There were three seats up for election this year, but Councilman Clifford Holmes drew no opposition and Councilman Keith Lauritsen defeated his only opponent in the general election.