ALBANY, Ga. — When she is sworn into office next month, former city commissioner Dorothy Hubbard will become Albany’s first female mayor.
That the next mayor of Albany would be a woman was a foregone conclusion after Hubbard and businesswoman B.J. Fletcher finished in the top two spots in the Nov. 8 municipal election and qualified to face off in Tuesday’s runoff election.
But which candidate would fill that seat was in question until the absentee ballots — which were the last votes counted Tuesday night — were tallied.
Hubbard ended the night having been chosen on 6,077 ballots, or 53.2 percent of the 11,428 votes cast in the mayor’s race, according to unofficial results released by elections officials. Fletcher was named on 5,351 ballots, or 46.8 percent.
When word began to spread that, in all likelihood, she had won the seat, an emotionally and physically exhausted Hubbard threw her hands in the air in celebration as her supporters let out a roar at her headquarters off West Broad Avenue.
The grin that sprang in that instant didn’t leave her face until after her acceptance speech when she was questioned by a reporter about being the city’s first female mayor.
“That’s great, but I’m going to be the mayor of all of Albany. That’s who voted me in here, the women and the men ... it’s going to take all of us to move this city forward,” Hubbard said.
On the other end of West Broad at Cafe 230, Fletcher told reporters that she isn’t going to give up her fight to make sure that Albany is the best community it can be and that she will work with anyone who shares that concern.
“I’m urging the city’s leadership to clean up this town and to start by focusing on their own mess,” Fletcher said. “This town needs a change and they can be the ones to start it.”
Fletcher said that she would continue her push to have local government play a bigger role in attracting and keeping industry in Albany and that she hoped city leaders would take a hard look at their budget and how they’re spending tax money and ensure that vital positions such as police officers weren’t overlooked in their decision making.
Fletcher also said that she would donate a meal to area homeless people for every one of her mayoral campaign signs that was brought to B.J.’s Country Buffet on Dawson Road.
Ward VI voters also had to decide a runoff election, and the decision was to give City Commission Tommie Postell another term of office. Postell has said he planned for this to be his final bid for a City Commission seat.
Of the 1,648 voters who cast ballots in the ward, 925 — 56.1 percent — chose Postell. His challenger, former Dougherty County commissioner Victor Edwards, received 723 votes, or 43.9 percent.
The turnout in the mayor’s race Tuesday was just under 63 percent higher than in the Nov. 8 election, when 7,014 voters went to the polls to decide among Hubbard, Fletcher and former state representative John White.
Fletcher was the leading vote-getter in that election, tallying 2,731 votes, or 38.9 percent, to Hubbard’s 2,575, or 36.7 percent. White was named on 1,699 ballots for 24.2 percent and was eliminated from the runoff.
The Ward VI turnout Tuesday was only slightly higher than the first election when 1,636 voters placed eliminated Kowana McKinney form the three-candidate race, setting up the runoff between lead vote-getter Postell, at 46.8 percent, and Edwards at 30.9 percent.
Tuesday’s turnout was just under 28.5 percent of registered voters, compared to 19.6 percent on Nov. 8.
Albany Herald local government reporter J.D. Sumner contributed to this story.