A runoff election assured to produce a historic result went down to the wire Tuesday.
In a race settled by fewer than 100 votes, Jan Moore became Statesboro’s first woman mayor, defeating Jonathan McCollar, who would have been the first black person to hold the office.
Moore claimed the victory by a margin of just 93 votes, according to unofficial results. A total of 1,867 ballots were cast in the contest, a total of 17.5 percent of registered voters in the city.
“I’m very humbled and grateful for the support that I have been given; and for the trust that has been placed in me by the citizens of Statesboro,” Moore said after learning the results. “I thought that Jonathan McCollar ran a very good campaign. I am very pleased that we were able to keep the campaign about the issues. I hope that moving forward, everyone can unite and work together to make the city a better place.”
Moore, 51, edged her opponent by garnering 980 votes, 52 percent of the turnout.
She will succeed Joe Brannen as mayor, and be sworn in at a January City Council meeting.
The mayor’s office will be the first public office held by Moore, a Statesboro native, and the business editor for the Statesboro Herald and behavior intervention specialist/psychologist for the Bulloch County Board of Education.
“My dad always told me that gender should not be an issue in pursuing the things that I wanted to do,” said the mayor-elect, about becoming the first woman to hold the office. “So, I don’t look at (winning this election), necessarily, as becoming the first female mayor. I just look at it as an opportunity to serve.”
A total of 887 ballots (48 percent) were cast for the 39-year-old McCollar.
“The truth of the matter is: we are still very excited about the amount of support that we received throughout the city,” he said. “And we, Statesboro, are moving forward. We did make history tonight by electing the first female mayor of the city. So we’ve broken one glass ceiling. That is a testament to where the city is, and I’m excited about that. We are moving in a positive direction. Jan ran a great race.”
McCollar, who was also part of a runoff election — for Statesboro City Council — last year, said he has no immediate plans to run again.
Tuesday’s runoff was held one month after a general election for the mayor’s office.
Moore and McCollar were top vote-getters in that election, among a field of four.
More than 200 additional voters participated in the runoff than in the November election.
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.