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RINGGOLD, Ga. — Because of a rule in the city charter many people didn't seem to know about, no winner was declared in the Ringgold mayoral race Tuesday night.

None of the three candidates had more than 50 percent of the vote so there will be a runoff vote Dec. 1 between the two candidates who earned the most votes — Tony Hullender and Nick Millwood.

Hullender finished with 38.28 percent (147 total votes) to Millwood's 37.5 percent (144 total votes). Jerry Payne had 23.96 percent (92 votes) and there was one write-in vote.

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Ringgold Mayor Joe Barger, right, spends a light hearted moment with mayoral candidate Nick Millwood, left, after a race too close to call with opponent Tony Hullender. It will take a Dec 1, runoff to decide the race. Barger has been mayor in Ringgold for decades.
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Just before Elections Superintendent Nicki Lundeen announced the results to the room, she explained the runoff rule: if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff vote in a separate election.

This was a surprise to everybody, even the mayoral candidates. After the results were announced, Hullender and Millwood told the Times Free Press they thought the election was structured so that whoever had the most votes would win.

"All this time we were led to believe it was the count," Hullender said.

"I was under the impression it would be a plurality to win the election," Millwood said.

This election was a significant one in Ringgold's history. Whoever wins the election will unseat Joe Barger, who has been Ringgold's mayor for 40 years.

Barger, the 85-year-old grandson of a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, decided not to run this year, but was sitting in the crowd Tuesday listening to the results.

He wrote down all the percentages on a small piece of paper he pulled out of his pocket.

"Now, that's very close," he said, pointing at the figures of Hullender and Millwood, who were separated by just three votes.

Millwood, given a second chance at being named Ringgold mayor, said although he was surprised, he wasn't upset about the unknown runoff rule.

"It would be inappropriate to be upset with the will of the city," Millwood said.

But Hullender was.

"Yes, I'm upset," he said.

Now, Hullender will have to go through another election against Millwood. He thought if he finished Tuesday with the most votes, he would become mayor on Jan. 1 when Barger's term runs out. That wasn't the case.

"Since they haven't had any challengers for mayor in 40 years, they didn't change the law on the charter," Hullender said.

In the city council race, Terry Crawford, Sara Clark and Larry Black received the three highest number of votes, earning them a seat on the council. Crawford and Earl Henderson were the only incumbents running. Henderson received the fourth highest amount of votes, leaving him 52 votes short of being on the council.

Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at ehoopfer@timesfreepress.com or ehoopfer@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

Georgia election results

FORT OGLETHORPE

Mayor
› Earl Gray
- 584
Lynn Long (i) - 176
Judd Burkhart - 44

Ward 1 Council Seat
› Rhonda James
- 407
Clay Kissner - 330
Steve Lanier - 44

Ward 2 Council Seat
› Jim Childs
- 448
Tracy Bass - 204
Harold Silcox - 129

Ward 4 Council Seat
› Derek Rogers (i,u)

RINGGOLD

Mayor [Runoff]
› Tony Hullender
- 147
› Nick Millwood - 144
Jerry Payne - 92

City Council
› Terry Crawford
(i) - 207
› Sara S. Clark - 194
› Larry C. Black - 167
Earl Henderson (i) - 116
Ray Reavely - 107
Mark Higgs - 106
Kelly Bomar - 95
* Top two vote-getters take seats.

WALKER COUNTY

Referendum SPLOST
› Yes
- 972
No - 354

CHICKAMAUGA

Mayor
› Ray Crowder
(i,u)

Council
› Daymon Garrett
(i) - 233
Lee Miller - 229
James Dale Powell - 101
* Top two vote-getters take seats.

School Board
› David Askew
(i) - 268
Grant Parrish (i) - 234
James W. Powell - 83
* Top two vote-getters take seats.

CHATTOOGA

Referendum SPLOST

Yes - NA
No - NA

LAFAYETTE

Ward 3 Council Seat
› Judy Meeks
(i,u)

Ward 4 Council Seat
› Chris Davis
(i,u)

At-large Council Seat
› Wayne Swanson
(i,u)

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

Council
› Jim Sabourin
(i,u)

Council
› Taylor Watson
(i,u)

ROSSVILLE

Mayor
› Teddy Harris
(i,u)

Council
› Michael Hicks
- 115
› Brad Buff - 92
William Rose - 89
* Top two vote-getters take seats.

TRENTON

Mayor
› Alex Case
- 238
Anthony Emmanuel (i) - 183

Street Commissioner
› Monda Wooten
- 264
James Emmett - 176

Fire and Utilities Commissioner
› Jerry Henegar
(u)

LYERLY

Referendum to keep fluoride in public drinking water
› Yes
- 30
No - 24

Referendum to allow alcohol sales on Sunday
› Yes
- 29
No - 25

Council
› Gwen Fisher
(i,u)
* Lyerly's council is supposed to consist of four members plus a mayor. Currently, there are three council members. It will remain that way.

MENLO

Mayor
› Theresa Canada
(i,u)

Council Seat 1
› Chuck Powell
(i,u)

Council Seat 2
› Virginia Welch
(i,u)

SUMMERVILLE

Council Seat 3
› Earl H. Parris
- 183
Aubrey D. Housch (i) - 117

Council Seat 4
› Sammy Joe Money Jr.
(i,u)

Council Seat 5
› Zachary Martin
(i) - 219
Charles Bennett - 85

DALTON

Mayor
› Dennis Mock
(i,u)

Alderman Ward 1
› Denise Andrea Wood
(i) - 461
Greg Dent - 348

Alderman Ward 3
› Tyree "Ty" Goodlett
- 457
George E. Sadosuk (i) - 384

Board of Education
› Pablo Perez
(u)

Board of Education
› Richard F. Fromm
(i,u)

Board of Education
› John "Tulley" Johnson
(i,u)

TRION
Council Seat 4

› Linda Ingle - 75
Thomas Benn (i) - 57
James Russell - 20

Council Seat 5
› Donald Harris - 75
Johnny Simmons - 42
Garrick Evans - 31

School Board 4
› Kari Maddux (i,u)

School Board 5
› Joe Middleton (i,u)

› = Winner; i = incumbent; u = unopposed

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