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Runoffs ahead in Albany mayor, City Commission Ward VI races; ESPLOST passes, but Sunday sales likely won't (UPDATE 10:36 p.m.)

Unofficial totals have fomer City Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard and businesswoman B.J. Fletcher facing off one more time Dec. 6 in a runoff for mayor of Albany.

Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell with have to go another round with former Dougherty County Commissioner Victor Edwards in that contest.

Meanwhile, the Ward II race is over -- maybe.

The educational SPLOST is headed for approval, it is by a much narrower margin than previous years, and Albany voters rejected Sunday package sales of alcoholic beverages.

In all, 15,502 ballots were cast in Albany and Dougherty County, a turnout of 30.72 percent. here are the results:

ALBANY MAYOR

Fletcher and Hubbard are headed for a runoff. Fletcher leads with 5,164 votes to Hubbard's 4,767. Former state representative John White was third, and out of the running, with 3,166 votes.

A candidate has to have 50 percent of the vote plus one to win without a runoff.

CITY COMMISSION

The only City Commission race that is conclusively over is Ward IV, where incumbent Roger Marietta defeated challenger Jason McCoy. Marietta had 2,549 votes to McCoy's 599.

In Ward II, the Rev. Ivey Hines is the apparent winner over Melissa Strother, depending on whether votes for ousted candidate Cheryl Calhoun have to be counted or are tossed. Hines led Strother 567 to 523, but there were 12 write-in votes and Calhoun was chosen by 259 voters. Local elections officials will check with state election officials Wednesday to determine the call.

In Ward VI, incumbent Tommie Postell led with 896 votes, but it was not enough to fend off former County Commissioner Victor Edwards, who had 561 votes. Challenger Kowana McKinney had 444 votes, to force a runoff between Postell and Edwards.

SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES

The referendum has been defeated, with 6,717 no votes to 6,251 in favor of passage.

ESPLOST III

The third special purpose local option sales tax for education will pass, but not by anywhere near the margin it did five years ago.

Voters who voted yes numbered 8,921, compared to 6,278 who voted against it. That means the approval rate, if the trend holds, will be about 58.7 percent. That is down over 26 percentage points from five years ago when ESPLOST II was approved by a whopping 85 percent of Dougherty voters.