Nearly five weeks after stepping down as Flowery Branch's interim mayor, Mike Miller has earned the right to return as mayor.
Miller defeated Mike Pitts Tuesday night by a vote of 410-143 in a special election to fill out the unexpired term of former mayor Diane Hirling.
At this time last year, Hirling won re-election to a second four-year term. She began the new term on Jan. 1, only to resign in May to retire to Florida.
"I'm relieved it's over and excited with the results," Miller said after learning he had won the race. "I think I have a positive record I ran on and the voters responded to that."
He celebrated with supporters at Toasted & Tapped, a new restaurant opening on Main Street, not far from City Hall.
Miller, 35, is set to be sworn in at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. Councilman Kris Yardley has been serving as interim mayor.
"I just want to say congratulations to (Miller) and I appreciate him running a good clean race," said Pitts, a retired businessman who was making his first bid for public office.
Miller was first elected to the Flowery Branch City Council last November and served from Jan. 1 until Sept. 27, when he resigned to run for mayor.
He also served as interim mayor after Hirling left office.
A Sterling on the Lake resident, Miller teaches in Gwinnett County and serves as an assistant golf professional at the Windermere Golf Club in Cumming.
Looking ahead at his mayor's term, Miller said, "First of all, I want to come up with a 10-year plan so we know where we're going and how we're going to get there.
"We've got growth coming - we know that, so we've got to put that vision on paper. We've got transportation and some infrastructure things we need to address."
Also on Tuesday night, Joseph Anglin won an uncontested special election to fill Miller's old Post 4 seat on the council. He also will be sworn in Thursday.