Ballot results posted outside the Rockmart precinct around 7:10 p.m., combined with the results of early voting tallied at the Polk County elections office in Cedartown, indicate Miller won the mayoral runoff with 220 votes, to Lewis’ 200.
“I knew it would be a close race,” Miller said Tuesday evening. “It is gratifying that enough people have confidence in me ... I’m looking forward to this challenge.”
Miller served as a member of the Rockmart City Council for nine years and eight months. He resigned Aug. 31, the final day of qualifying for the municipal election, in order to run for mayor.
Lewis has served as the town’s mayor for 12 years. The previous mayor, the late Steve Smith, also served multiple terms as mayor.
For his part, Miller said he is honored to serve his community but does not expect to serve multiple terms. In fact, he said he supports term limits for the city's elected positions “so all citizens have an opportunity to serve their community, and then step away.”
A CLOSE ELECTION
Voting on election day was strongly in Miller’s favor, but early votes more than halved his lead.
The printouts from three voting machines at the Nathan Dean Civic Center were as follows:
Miller, 86, 40 and 32, for a total of 158 votes; and Lewis, 61, 29 and 24, for a total of 114 votes. Election day voting gave Miller a 44-vote lead.
Director of Elections Susan Williams said early votes counted at the election office in Cedartown broke down as follows: Miller, 62; Lewis, 86. Those votes narrowed Miller’s lead to 20 votes.
Williams said there are still 14 provisional votes to be reviewed by the elections board. However, since Miller held a 20-point lead, those votes would not be enough to change the election outcome.
A runoff election was needed as neither man took 51 percent of the vote in the Nov. 8 municipal election, which was a four-way contest.
Last month, Lewis ended up with 190 votes, for 35.71 percent of the vote, while Miller’s votes totaled 193, for 36.28 percent. Mike Bradley had 124 (23.31 percent) and Brenda C. Palmer took 25 votes (4.7 percent).