Political newcomer Gary Thrower is set to be Milledgeville’s next mayor, in what appears to be a 35-vote victory over political veteran Floyd Griffin Jr.
Unofficial results gave Thrower 1,134 votes to Griffin’s 1,099.
“I’m elated, I’m excited,” said Thrower, 55. It is his first run for office.
“It was a strong ground game,” Thrower said. He attributed his tally to him and his supporters knocking on doors in hundred-degree weather “and looking voters straight in the eye.”
During his campaign, Thrower said his top priorities would be job creation and exploring any ways the city could assist the financially troubled Oconee Regional Medical Center.
Griffin, 71, who had previously served as the mayor and as a state senator, said Tuesday night that he will ask for a recount.
“I’ll look into that tomorrow,” he said.
The former mayor campaigned on his record of helping attract investment to Milledgeville.
Tuesday’s results were a reversal for Griffin, who nearly won outright in the first round of voting on June 16. Last month, Griffin took 44.6 percent of the votes to Thrower’s 32.9 percent. Third-place finisher Melba Burrell carried the remaining 22.5 percent of the vote. It takes at least 50 percent to win.
The special election was triggered by the resignation of Mayor Richard Bentley in February. The next month, he was arrested on charges of insurance fraud.
But the next mayor may be Milledgeville’s last mayor.
A proposal to merge the city with Baldwin County will go before voters in the city and in the unincorporated area on Nov. 3.
Griffin and Thrower have said they do not oppose consolidation in principle, but both oppose this particular proposal.