Former mayor Allen Brown and current Mayor Pro-Tem Charles Frasier appeared to be headed for a runoff to decide who will be Hinesville’s next mayor, according to unofficial totals released Tuesday night.
Brown tallied 1,117 votes, or 40.6 percent, while Frasier had 909 (33.1 percent). Former Liberty County NAACP leader Liston Singletary III had 502 (18.3 percent), Danny Eason had 161 (5.9 percent) and Tyrone “Ice” Adams had 60 (2.2 percent).
In Hinesville City Council’s open District 1 seat, Diana Reid appeared to edge out Cathey Winn, 216-204 (50.8 percent to 48 percent). In District 2, incumbent Jason Floyd easily defeated challenger Andrew Williams, 526-330 (61.4 percent to 38.5 percent).
In the open District 3 seat, Vicky “Haynes” Nelson appeared to be in control, but not quite enough to avoid a runoff. She had 206 votes (49.4 percent), Arthur Nixon had 132 (31.7 percent) and Joseph Stuart 75 (18 percent). In District 5, incumbent Kenneth Shaw appeared to have a solid margin over challenger Angela Wilson, 310-199 (60.5 percent to 38.8 percent).
In Walthourville, Mayor Daisy Pray appeared to easily defeat her challenger, Carrie K. Anderson. Pray had 237 votes (65.5 percent) to Anderson’s 125 (34.5 percent).
City Council Post 3 challenger Larry Baker appeared to unseat incumbent Sarah Hayes. Baker had 184 votes (52.7 percent), Hayes 129 (37 percent) and Sadaetirs Smith 36 (10.3 percent).
And in Post 5, Vincent Pray appeared to unseat incumbent James Hendry, 193 votes (55 percent) to 158 (45 percent).
In a ballot question, Walthourville voters easily approved Sunday package alcohol sales, 209-114 (64.7 percent to 35.3 percent).
In Riceboro, Mayor Bill Austin appeared to cruise to an easy victory in a three-way race. Austin had 144 votes (56.3 percent), compared to 86 (33.6 percent) for Joe Harris and 26 (10.2 percent) for former mayor Gregory Richardson.
All four incumbents appeared to be re-elected to Riceboro City Council. They were the top four vote-getters in the seven-way race: Tommie Williams (187 votes, 20.1 percent), Chris Stacy (181 votes, 19.5 percent), David Miller (176 votes, 18.9 percent) and John Young (161 votes, 17.3 percent). The challengers were far behind: Louise Brown had 94 votes (10.1 percent), Vanessa Collins-Roberts had 75 (8.1 percent) and Charles Jones had 56 (6 percent).
Voter turnout appeared to be light in Hinesville for the City Council and mayoral elections, but voters in Riceboro and Walthourville were encouraged by the number who voted in their cities.
In Hinesville, 1,282 voters cast ballots on Election Day. Combined with advance voting, a total of 2,715 ballots were case in Liberty County’s largest city, which had a highly competitive mayor’s race that drew five candidates for the open seat, and contested races in four of the five City Council seats.
According to the Liberty County Board of Elections, Hinesville has 16,867 registered voters, meaning the turnout was about 16.1 percent.
Ritchie Anderson, 45, is a city worker who said he voted for Singletary for mayor.
“I always vote on every election ’cause that’s my right,” Anderson said. “And it’s a privilege, right, but I drove out for a change. Hopefully we’ll get the right candidate in there.”
Liberty County Chief Magistrate Judge Melinda Anderson, 72, said she has only ever missed two runoff elections since she has been of voting age. She said that since she’s been old enough to vote, she’s only missed two runoff elections.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh, well, it was raining, so I didn’t, I didn’t go,’ or whatever,” Anderson said. “You know, Washington and his troops almost froze to death crossing the Delaware to give us this opportunity. And when the weather’s too hot or the weather’s too cold, or some little inconvenience pop up … we just … we don’t respect what people before us have done to make it so that we can do this.”
Samore’a Bacon, 18, is a first-time voter who cast her ballot for Allen Brown in the mayoral race. She helped with his campaign.
“I feel like if you vote, you have a opinion to say anything or to be anybody,” she said. “It gives you a lot of freedom just to vote for your opinion.”
Unlike in Hinesville, Riceboro voters appeared to be turning out at a brisk pace Tuesday morning. Ninety-one people had voted shortly before noon, according to poll manager Gaeblyn Stevens at the Riceboro Youth Center. Stevens said there was steady flow of voters throughout the morning.
By the end of the day, 211 people had voted. Combined with advance voting, the total number of ballots cast in Riceboro was 253.
A few of the candidates for City Council — Charlie Jones Sr. and Vanessa Collins-Roberts and incumbents David Miller, Chris Stacy and Tommie Williams — along with mayoral candidate Joe Harris and Mayor Bill Austin, were stationed at tents outside of the polling station — just beyond the required 150-foot distance from the polling location — where they greeted voters.
Jones and his brother John Jones Sr. gave away fried fish, chicken, baked beans, potato salad and more to people who finished voting.
Collins-Roberts said, “We’re out here to show our appreciation to the community. We just want to follow through with the whole process with our voters and thank them for their support.”
Austin, who was sitting with some of the incumbent City Council members, said a lot of familiar faces come out to vote.
“We reached out to constituents on a personal level, and I think they will reward us for our efforts,” Austin said.
Linda Fagan, a longtime Riceboro resident, said she thinks it’s important to vote and be involved.
“This election is unique because of the challengers for mayor,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve seen Riceboro come out like this. The community really came out and participated.”
Nancy Lowe, also a longtime resident, said, “I came out to vote because I want to see a change in our community because we need certain things that we don’t have and make it a better community.”
A light drizzle in the morning gave way to a major downpour by 5:20 p.m. but it didn’t hamper the citizens of Walthourville from doing their civic duty and casting their votes.
By 4:15 p.m. about 181 residents of Walthourville came out to vote. By the time the polls closed, 270 residents had cast a ballot Tuesday. Combined with advance voting, the total number of votes in the city was 357.
Campaign signs lined Talmadge Road as candidates and their supporters held up signs and waved at motorist driving by.
Walthourville has a contentious race as two-term Mayor Daisy Pray is seeking re-election against newcomer Carrie Anderson.
Longtime business owner Mazie Fabian was among the campaigners reminding folks to cast their votes and, in her opinion, make some changes.
“I have been here for the last 30 years and my husband was on the City Council at one time,” Fabian said. “I have been a business owner and a citizen here … and I don’t feel that the mayor and a few of the councilmen in there are doing their job up to their ability, or that they really don’t care.”
Fabian didn’t mince her words or hide the fact that she would like a new mayor — one more open to new businesses, including her own.
“I’ve been a business owner here for the last 20-plus years as an owner of the BoMaz Club, and from what I can see, the mayor and her attorney have just about pushed me from not getting my alcohol license to open up my business,” she said. “This business is my livelihood, and they are not understanding that. It will probably be a battle somewhere down the line, possibly a lawsuit.”
She said she was waiting to be the last person in line in order to see the turnout. In the meantime, she kept flagging down voters encouraging them, to punch their ballots.
Resident Tosha Waller said she came out specifically came out for the mayoral vote. Her friend and seven year Walthourville Chelsea Talley cast her vote as well.
“I came out more so for the council member seat,” she said. “I am hoping to keep the people that are currently in office because I think they’ve made some really good changed and I hope to keep that flowing.”