Erma Denney celebrated a historical win in Hoschton on Tuesday when she was elected the city’s first-ever female mayor. Denney defeated Robbie Bettis and James Keinard in the city’s only contested local election.
Denney received 243 votes, Bettis 110 votes and Keinard 18 votes, according to acting city clerk Karen Butler.
In all, Butler said 329 people voted on Tuesday and 43 people cast absentee ballots, a 45 percent turnout in a town with 824 registered voters.
"It’s a little overwhelming to be very honest," said Denney after receiving the results Tuesday evening. "This was a really emotional night."
Denney credited her win to the constant support she said she has received from the community.
"It’s been a continuous stream of people who have kept me going this whole time and who have made this possible," she said. "This is a complete community effort and it’s by no means my victory. This is the citizens of Hoschton’s victory."
When she takes office in January, Denney said her top priority will be listening and supporting the residents and the city council.
Keinard said Tuesday evening that he wishes Denney the best in her new position. "She’s got a big job ahead of her, and I hope she’s successful," he said.
He said Denney and the incoming council members will have to tackle some serious issues in the near future, including bringing some financial stability to Hoschton.
Efforts to reach Bettis on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Four new council members all ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election and will take office with Denney in January: Sandie Romer, Jim Higginbottom, Jim Cleveland and Scott Butler.
Denney and the new council members will be sworn into office during the Hoschton City Council’s Dec. 7 meeting.