Richmond Hill developer Johnny Murphy said he’s used to helping candidates run for office. Tuesday, Murphy won his first race as a candidate by ousting incumbent Van Hunter to win the Post 1 seat in the city’s only contested race.
Murphy outpolled Hunter 353-272, according to City Clerk and election supervisor Ursula Lee. The results are unofficial until certified by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
Murphy’s initial reaction to winning seemed to be relief.
“I feel like I’m glad that it’s over,” he said. “I’ve worked with so many that ran for office and it’s a lot different being the candidate. It’s a lot of hard work — a lot more hard work than I thought.”
Murphy, who also publishes Richmond Hill Reflections Magazine and the website Richmond Hill GA Live, said he intends to work with the city’s other council members and mayor.
“I want to make sure everybody understands that one city councilman has to work with all the other City Council people,” he said. “You have four of us working together with the mayor, so one person can do his own share, but you have to work as a team to accomplish the goals.”
Murphy said his priority is to plan for what lies ahead.
“My platform speaks for itself. Plan, plan, plan. We know we’re going to grow,” he said. “We have to make sure we have the planning in place so we don’t have to try and go back to fix things like we’re having to do now.”
The election night defeat isn’t the first for Hunter, a self-employed Army veteran who also lost his council seat in 2005 before getting re-elected in the 2009 election.
“I don’t know what to really say,” Hunter said. “It was a clean race and people got out there and basically had a change of heart in who they wanted to run the city for the next four years.
“But I’ve been in the position before. Just because I lost doesn’t mean that the battle is over with. We’ll be back again.”
Murphy, who said he had “so many people to thank” for their work during the campaign, said both he and Hunter worked hard to win the seat.
Both candidates ramped up their visibility during early voting and spent much of Tuesday out trying to win the hearts of undecided voters.
“I congratulate Van (on the race),” he said. “The harder I watched him work, the harder I worked.”
Also on the ballot but running unopposed were Mayor Harold Fowler and Post 2 Councilman Russ Carpenter.
Turnout was light but better than expected for an election with one race.
Of the roughly 7,600 registered voters in Richmond Hill’s city limits, 307 cast ballots during early voting and 14 cast absentee ballots while Tuesday saw 304 residents make the trip to the John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center to vote.