In Tuesday’s municipal elections, the race for Statesboro City Council in District 2 ended amicably with the incumbent re-elected. Meanwhile, a proposal to allow liquor stores in Brooklet’s city limits failed by a one-vote margin.
Voters in Register and Brooklet also decided races for seats on their city councils.
Statesboro District 2 Councilmember Paulette Chavers won a second four-year term by garnering 332 votes to challenger Lawton Sack's 107 votes in District 2. With only one Election Day voting place involved, the new Statesboro precinct site at Luetta Moore Park, the count was official about an hour after the poll closed.
“I just want to thank everyone that came out and voted today and also during early voting,” Chavers said on the phone. “I just want to render my gratitude. I could not have done this without voter participation, and I’m eternally grateful.”
She said she looks forward to “moving the city of Statesboro forward by getting more youth programs, focusing in on public safety and also addressing the homeless issue that we may be facing.”
Of the five Statesboro council districts, District 2 was the only one that had an election. Turnout was just 9.6%, with 439 voters participating out of 4,582 registered in the district, according to the summary released by Bulloch County Election Supervisor Shontay Jones.
But more of those voters came out Tuesday, the final election day, when 247 voted, than in the three-week window for advancing voting, during which 187 voted in-person and just five returned absentee ballots.
“I ran this race to make a difference for the people of District 2,” Sack said in a text. “I heard a lot of issues along the campaign trail as I listened to the voters. I have shared some of those with Councilwoman Chavers and I will continue to work in this district to make sure their voices are heard.”
Sack, who chairs the Bulloch County Republican Party, won’t have to give up that role, since he lost the election to the nonpartisan council seat. He has voiced opposition to city and county tax increases but support for youth mentorship and community efforts aimed at crime prevention, as well as for hiring more police officers and raising public safety salaries.
“This was never about me, so the fight continues on within the city of Statesboro and throughout the county,” he texted Tuesday night. “I thank all the voters for coming out, though I wish that more voters had exercised their right to vote that has been secured and protected by many men and women throughout history. Congratulations to Councilwoman Chavers. A lot of work to be done, and I will be there.”
In Brooklet, a referendum proposal that would have enabled the city government to license liquor stores was defeated by just one vote, with 75 residents voting "no" and 74 voting "yes." With Brooklet having 1,338 registered voters and 151 total votes cast, turnout was 11.3%.
Keith Roughton won the three-candidate race for Brooklet City Council Post 1 by garnering 77 votes while Seth Cannon got 38 and Melanie Garcia 31.
So Roughton will fill the council seat set to be vacated at year’s end by Nicky Gwinnett, now officially Brooklet’s mayor-elect. Gwinnett appeared on the ballot unopposed for that office, with 117 voters checking his name, and so in January will succeed current Brooklet Mayor Joe Grooms III, who did not seek re-election.
Incumbent Councilmember Bradley Anderson, unopposed for re-election to Post 2, received 122 votes in the tally released by Brooklet City Clerk Lori Phillips.
Register had only one contested race but the highest turnout, with 50 of its 139 registered voters, or 36%, casting ballots. All 50 voted Tuesday, at the precinct house in Register, after none came to the county election office in Statesboro to vote early.
Melanie Lynn Nessmith received 28 votes to Richard Canady's 21, so Nessmith has won previously vacant Seat 5 on Register Town Council. Both unopposed, Tonya Boyd won re-election to Seat 3 with 34 votes, and Alfred L. Jones to Seat 4 with 36 votes.
Elections had been canceled for Statesboro’s Council District 3, where Ginny Hendley is unopposed member-elect to succeed current Councilmember Venus Mack, who did not seek re-election, and District 5, where incumbent member Shari Barr, also unopposed, is formally re-elected for a second term.
Portal’s election was cancelled because its incumbents, including Mayor Billy Boggs, Post 2 council member Roy Johnson and Post 5 member Delina Woods, were unopposed for a new four-year term.