ALBANY – Albany voters will return to the polls on Dec. 3 to decide who will occupy two Albany city government offices, including a runoff mayoral contest.
Incumbent Mayor Dorothy Hubbard received the most votes in Tuesday’s election, finishing with 3,501, or 30.25%. Second-place finisher Kermit “Bo” Dorough received 3,206 votes, or 27.7%, of the 11,572 ballots cast.
“I am really delighted to be in the runoff,” Hubbard said on Wednesday. “We get to get out running (again). We’ll be out there campaigning as we have in the past.
“I am grateful to the people who voted for me and certainly look forward to running a good, clean race.”
Hubbard said her campaign is developing plans for the runoff contest and how she will raise and address issues.
“I think I did a good job, considering we had that many candidates in the race to begin with,” she said.
Mathis held the second spot most of the night as precinct totals trickled in, but when the last of the votes were counted, Mathis was in third place with 2,774 votes.
Dorough and Hubbard came out on top in a race that included five other candidates. James Pratt Jr. finished with 1,146 votes, followed by Tracy Taylor with 641 votes, Omar Salaam with 189 votes and Edward Allen, who received 91 votes.
“I am very disappointed that I polled less than 10% in south and east Albany,” Dorough said after election results were reported. “But what this election showed is that 70% of the people in Albany who went to the polls voted against the incumbent. The only question now is will the people who claim they want change seize the opportunity to make that change while they have this chance?
“I’m going to hit the bricks, talk to those voters. And I will debate Ms. Hubbard any time or anywhere.”
The other runoff election will be for the Ward VI City Commission seat. Incumbent Tommie Postell chose not to seek another term.
In that race Demetrius Young came out on top on election night with 705 votes, or 44.71%. John Hawthorne finished just behind with 692 votes – 43.88% – to force the runoff election between the two. Leroy Smith received 177 votes, or 11.22%.
Young said he already has been talking with potential voters in the ward and is encouraged with the response. There are many people in Ward VI, the largest in the city, to be engaged, he said.
“I think we were able to do some great things in the general (election) with just elbow grease,” he said. “We didn’t have much funding, but we were able to get the message out. I’m actually really excited, probably more excited for the runoff than I was during the general.
“I think I’m the one who’s offering more of a change and a different direction than what the citizens have (seen) for the last few years.”
If elected, Young said, he will advocate for the residents of Ward VI, who he said often are neglected.
“I think our approach is different,” he said. “I’m not going down to city hall to join the party, to join the club. I’m going out to represent the citizens of Ward VI. A lot of people in Ward VI feel a lack of respect. SPLOST (sales tax) funds have been spread around Albany to the tune of millions of dollars, and Ward VI has received in the tens of thousands.”
Young said he would look to convince commissioners not to think only about their own wards but to consider the interests of people in Ward VI when making decisions.
“We can only be great as a city if all the parts are great,” he said. “We need to be equitable and we need to be fair, and that is what I will demand for Ward VI.”
Hawthorne could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
In the Ward IV Albany City Commission race, businessman Chad Warbington edged veteran incumbent Commissioner Roger Marietta by 20 votes, 1,474-1,454, to claim the seat.
“I’m so excited; I’ve been through so much anticipation the last three hours,” Warbington said moments after the Dougherty Elections office released final numbers just before 10 p.m. “I did the preliminary numbers, and I knew this was going to come down to the wire, down to a few votes. I’m just ready to give 100% to try and make our community better.”
Warbington discounted the impact of a much-talked-about video released days before the election that showed Marietta taking two of the challenger’s campaign signs out of people’s yards without permission. Those homeowners filed charges against Marietta, and action on those charges is pending.
“I was feeling good, feeling the momentum shift toward my campaign before that happened,” Warbington said. “I don’t think that one action had a whole lot of bearing on the eventual outcome. It certainly wasn’t the cornerstone of my campaign.”
Marietta said that although the results won’t be official until Friday, he accepts the results showing him fall 20 votes short.
“My opponent ran a strong campaign, and my supporters also worked hard for my re-election,” Marietta said. “I am honored to have served 12 years and feel that we accomplished a great deal. I have two months left in office to continue working for my constituents.
“I look forward to having more time to do the things I enjoy. Thanks to all my constituents for their support and work to improve our city. We all need to continue working together to clean up and improve our city.
Albany voters also overwhelmingly supported a measure allowing the sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages at restaurants to start an hour earlier, beginning at 11 a.m., on Sunday. Nearly 61%, or 6,892 of voters, cast ballots in support of the ballot question, with 4,404 voting no.
Voters in unincorporated Dougherty County also voted in favor of an identical question by a vote of 7,486-4,798.
A vote on Sunday sales at package stores outside the Albany city limits passed with 60% of the vote, 7,449-4,883.
Carlton Fletcher contributed to this article.