A pair of Darien candidates boasted of a good night’s rest after winning their respective campaigns for mayor and city council on Tuesday. Also, the few voters who turned out countywide approved a 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for transportation projects.
Mayor Hugh “Bubba” Hodge defeated District 2 City Councilman Griffin Lotson 270-198 to win a third straight term as mayor, according to unofficial results from the county Board of Elections. In the race for the District 2 City Council seat that Lotson vacated, Morris Butler’s 102 votes were enough to avoid a runoff in a three-candidate race. With Katie Daniels garnering 56 votes and William Johnson getting 43, Butler had nearly 51 percent of the total in the race.
“Yes, Lord, I slept good last night,’’ Butler said Wednesday.
He said that restful night was the result of no longer having to prepare for a runoff that he believed almost certain.
“I was pretty confident I would make the runoff. I was shocked when they announced the results,’’ he said. “Now, I’ve got to get up my [campaign] signs.”
Hodge said it was his first good night’s sleep in a long time and that he is grateful that he will be around four more years to continue working on some ongoing, positive developments in the city.
He praised Lotson for a good, clean campaign.
“Griffin is a good man,’’ Hodge said.
It wasn’t exactly a mandate for anyone, as the majority of the voters didn’t bother to drop by the polls.
Only 36 percent of the 1,303 voters registered in the city cast ballots and county-wide only 1,578 of the 9,702 registered voters cast ballots for a 16 percent turnout, said Eleanor “Doll” Gale, supervisor of elections. Sixty percent of the voters cast “Yes” votes on the T-SPLOST question.
The tax will be collected for five years or until it raises $7.5 million and raise the local sales tax rate to 8 percent.
Hodge said he regrets that so few people voted and blamed part of it on the election cycle when there were no state or federal candidates or referendums on the ballot.
On the other hand, it could be a positive signal for the city council.
“Maybe we’re doing something right,’’ he said. “People didn’t get out to vote out of vengeance.”