Millsaps wins tight race for re-election

LAWRENCEVILLE - With nearly 2,000 votes cast in Tuesday's mayoral election, the initial results had incumbent Rex Millsaps edging city council member Judy Jordan Johnson by 24 votes.

Results are unofficial until Friday, but with 1,958 ballots cast in the mayor's race, Millsaps finished with 1,006 votes to Johnson's 982.

For Johnson, who waited for the totals at city hall, she shed a few tears when the results were announced and then hugged some of her supporters. After a minute, she offered her congratulations to Mayor Millsaps.

"This is Mr. Millsaps' night and the voters have spoken," Johnson said. "But I'm proud of the six years I've served on the council. I've worked hard and I feel like I represented the city well."

Johnson said this also was probably her last political race. And despite how close the contest was, she also wasn't expecting anything to change if she decided to request a recount.

"To be fair to my supporters I might ask for a recount but I don't expect it to change anything," she said.

For Millsaps, who celebrated his victory at Lil' River Grill with family and friends, he said winning a close race felt good.

"Anytime you can get re-elected it's kind of like the public is approving of what you're doing," Millsaps said. "But it was a tough race and she's probably the toughest candidate in Lawrenceville I could run against. She ran a tough race and was a tough competitor."

Millsaps said he plans to continue doing what he's been doing in his next term and that includes reopening the well system and improving the quality of life for all the residents.

In the race for the Post 1 city council seat, Marie Beiser defeated Richard Johnson finishing with 1,164 votes to Johnson's 756. In the Post 2 contest, incumbent Mike Crow held on to his seat taking in 1,057 votes to Mary Thompson's 900 votes.

For Crow, he said he looks forward to continuing the work on projects he's already begun in office.

"It feels great and I'm glad to be back," Crow said. "I'm looking forward to finishing the police department, doing a lot of road stuff and getting another well back online."

Crow said the biggest thing he'd like to concentrate on though is improving the city's neighborhoods.

"With all the foreclosures and everything that is happening, we've got about 1,400 (homes) in the city with Lawrenceville mailing addresses that have already been foreclosed on," Crow said. "And all the lenders are projecting more so we're going to have our jobs cuts out for us trying to take care of our neighborhoods."

Crow said taking care of the city's neighborhoods will entail coming up with a better way to keep track of the foreclosed home's owners and developing a plan to maintain the home's appearance.

"We're experiencing terrible difficulties through the courts and the foreclosure system and the way they do it," Crow said. "If you're bogged down in the bureaucracy of the courts, it's such a pain and so frustrating because the people that live there get upset and our hands are tied. We've got to find a way to move quicker."

In other related news from the Lawrenceville ballot, the redevelopment powers act question passed. The initiative will allow the city to improve economic and social conditions in depresed areas. Official numbers were not available as of press time.