It was close all evening. But at the end of the night, former Dalton mayor David Pennington defeated incumbent Dennis Mock by 11 votes to reclaim the mayor's post.
"I've been out of office almost six years, running against an incumbent mayor," said Pennington. "I knew it would be a tough race. But I'm thankful to all of those who came out to vote."
Pennington received 1,400 votes (50.05%) to Mock's 1,389 (49.66%). There were eight write-in votes.
"I want to thank my family, especially my wife, my friends and the community that has supported me over the last five years," said Mock. "I've had a great time, learned a lot, and made some great friends."
He congratulated Pennington on his victory.
"It was very close. It was hard fought," he said.
Pennington was elected mayor in 2007 and reelected in 2011. Under Pennington’s leadership, the city built the Mack Gaston Community Center, added or began to add new tennis courts and multi-use sports fields, created several new pocket parks, began work on the walking and biking trails on Mount Rachel and in the Crown Mill area, and helped fund repairs of the historic Hamilton House and the old freight depot on Morris Street.
Pennington said his top priorities when he takes office again in 2020 will be cutting spending and taxes.
"We've got the highest (property) taxes in north Georgia, and we can't move forward as long as we have the highest taxes," he said.
Mock won a special election in 2014 to fill Pennington's unexpired term after Pennington stepped down in an unsuccessful bid for governor. Mock won a full four-year term in 2015.
"I'm proudest of the positive momentum we have all over the city now," said Mock. "We got Burr (Performing Arts) Park. We built Haig Mill Lake Park. Downtown is busy all the time."
Mock said his top priority in his remaining weeks in office will be finishing the 2020 city budget.