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Register, Portal and Brooklet elections yield mix of results
vote 2021

Bulloch County’s smallest city, Register, has a new mayor-elect by only a two-vote margin, while Portal could face a Nov. 30 runoff after two candidates for one council seat tied in Tuesday’s municipal election.

Meanwhile, Brooklet voters elected three new council members, in addition to deciding two questions about alcoholic beverages.

Register mayor

In Register, challenger Donnie Roberts garnered 29 votes for mayor while incumbent Mayor Barbara Rushing, who has served in that office at least six years, received 27 votes. So Roberts, who had previously served on Register Town Council, is mayor-elect of the town in southwestern Bulloch County.

Since a total of 56 votes were cast in the race, Roberts had in effect 51.8% of the votes and Rushing, 48.2%.

Register had just 121 registered voters in its city limits coming into this election, according to information previously obtained from the Bulloch County elections office. So, those 56 votes represent a 46.3% voter participation rate in Tuesday’s election in Register, far better than Statesboro’s 11 or 12% turnout.

In the race for Register Council Seat 1, challenger Brittany Brannen was the victor with 32 votes to incumbent Richard Canady’s 24. Edmund Brannen was elected to Seat 2 without opposition, and with 46 votes.

Portal’s tie

Portal, the only Bulloch County municipality with no referendum on the ballot, had only two City Council races, but an interesting result.

For Portal City Council Post 4, challenger Roger D. Davis Jr. and incumbent Clay Williams tied, with 37 votes each.

This situation appears to require a runoff, both Portal City Clerk Mike Arrieta and Bulloch County Election Supervisor Shontay Jones said Wednesday. Jones said she didn’t know if there was any way to avoid this, such as if one of the candidates conceded, and that local officials will need to look further at the state election law.

It will be up to Portal officials to decide whether the town itself might hold the runoff, if there is one, or if the county elections office would conduct it as it did Tuesday’s election, Jones said. If there is a runoff, it will need to be held Nov. 30 to comply with the state elections calendar.

Portal’s Post 3 race was also close, but incumbent Jerry Lanigan will remain on the council, since she received 38 votes to challenger Tom Coleman’s 35.

Councilwoman Sissy Carter was unopposed 

Brooklet races

In Brooklet, where the city conducted its own election and results were reported by City Clerk Lori Phillips, voters chose three new City Council members. Becky Kelly won Post 3, with 130 votes to Hannah Dinello’s 75. Either would have been a new member, since incumbent William Griffith did not seek re-election.

Meanwhile, James Harrison captured Brooklet Council Post 4 with 109 votes, unseating incumbent Gregory Schlierf, who received 92 votes. Johnathan Graham ran unopposed for Post 5, had 175 votes for himself and will also be new on the council, since Councilman Jim Stanoff declined to seek re-election.

The results of Brooklet’s and Register’s alcoholic beverage referendums are included in the story about Statesboro voters’ decision to allow liquor stores. 

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