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Crane wins Post 1 runoff in Cumming council election
Vote totals posted
Pollworker Nina Anderson hangs the vote total printouts on the window outside the Cumming City Hall Tuesday evening. - photo by Jim Dean

Chad Crane will be the next Post 1 representative for the Cumming City Council.

Crane earned 340 votes in the runoff for the seat on Tuesday over Incumbent Chuck Welch, who received 212. The city of Cumming does not typically hold runoffs, but the Nov. 7 election for the seat ended with each candidate receiving 441 votes in a rare tie vote.

Advance voting for the race was held Nov. 27-Dec. 1 at Cumming City Hall and brought out a total of 335 voters. There were 61 voters on Monday, 54 on Tuesday, 65 on Wednesday, 64 on Thursday and 91 on Friday.

Luth said she had never seen a tie in her 25 years working in elections, and there was a strong turnout from city voters.

“I’m really amazed … that we had 20 percent — that is high for a runoff,” she said. “They cared about this election, and got out and voted. Even in the rain with having 204 voters at the polls today, so they did get out in the rain.”

More than 550 voters cast ballots in the race. The city has about 3,000 registered voters.

Crane was found to be the winner by three votes on Nov. 7 after he received 441 votes to Welch’s 438.

That changed at an election certification event less than a week later, when two mail-in ballots and one paper ballot were found to be in favor of Welch. The paper ballot was apparently not correctly bubbled in, according to an elections official, which initially caused some confusion.

There was also further confusion following the meeting as to what would come next since the city charter does not say what to do if a tie is reached. State rules called for a runoff for the race.

Crane, a Georgia native, graduated from Roswell High School and attended the University of North Carolina. This was his first time running for office.

His win means all incumbents for the city elections have been defeated after fellow newcomers Mayor-elect Troy Brumbalow and Post 2 Cumming City Councilman-elect Jason Evans won their seats outright in the Nov. 7 election.

Brumbalow defeated Mayor Ford Gravitt, who has been in office since 1971, by a total of 563 votes to Gravitt’s 388, and Evans received 523 votes, more than Incumbent Quincy Holton, who has been in office since 1969 and earned 389 votes.

Crane will be the third person to serve in the seat since 2015, when Welch was elected to fill the unexpired term of the seat after the retirement of former councilman Rupert Sexton. Crane’s term is four years.

He has lived in the city for about six years and said during his campaign he wanted to bring new dining and shopping offerings to Cumming “while keeping no city property tax.”

Closing down the machines
Pollworkers James Brooks and Nina Anderson close out the voting machines as they prepare to print the results from Tuesday's election. - photo by Jim Dean