MILTON, Ga. — The Nov. 7 general election pitted two long-standing Milton political figures against two newcomers. In the race for mayor, voters stood with the old guard while electing the political greenhorn to the council seat of District 2, Post 1.
Mayor Joe Lockwood garnered 66 percent of the vote over challenger Laura Rencher. Laura Bentley captured her seat on the City Council with 71 percent of the votes over Bill Lusk, who was seeking his final term on the City Council.
In all, 4,507 residents cast votes in the election, about 22 percent of the city’s registered voters.
Lockwood will now continue his role as the only mayor of Milton since the city’s incorporation in 2006. This election marked his first contested race since 2006 when he defeated George Ragsdale.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to serve the citizens of Milton for a final term,” he said. “I also appreciate and respect those that did not vote for me. I still take representing them just as seriously and I want to work hard for them. I am still open to communication and I take all their concerns seriously.”
Lockwood said the focus on his final term will be the continuation of some of the issues the City Council has been working on recently, including land preservation.
“Some ideas have come to fruition and others we are working on,” he said. “We will continue to push those to make sure that Milton stays different and follows the vision that I believe our citizens want,” he said.
Rencher won three precincts — 6A, 6B and 1B — over Lockwood, but earned just 173 votes in those three areas.
While the incumbent mayor retained his seat, the District 2, Post 1 race saw the ousting of long-standing Councilman Bill Lusk by challenger Laura Bentley. Lusk has held the seat since the city’s incorporation.
Bentley took 3,164 votes over Lusk’s 1,278. Lusk took just one precinct, 1B, by a single vote. Bentley garnered 81 percent of the vote in precinct 22 that runs along Ga. 372 and Wood Road.
Bentley said the win was “very humbling.”
“I had so many members of the community that helped me tirelessly, and I am so grateful for their dedication,” she said. “All the supporters of the campaign, it was really their win.”
Between Lusk’s deep ties to the community, his volunteer work and his level of support, Bentley said he was a very worthy opponent. But she felt that residents were ready for new ideas and fresh leadership.
“I think Milton is their town and they would like to see some things going forward that keeps Milton the kind of city people moved here for,” Bentley said. “It’s easy to be involved because it’s such a great place to live.”
Planning Commission chair Peyton Jamison will join the City Council for District 1, Post 1 after running uncontested. The seat is currently held by Karen Thurman who announced in August that she would not seek re-election.
Joe Longoria will serve a third term on the Council. He ran uncontested for District 3, Post 1.