After the November 3rd Soperton mayoral election ended in a tie, the two candidates are now locked in a runoff.
One is a political newcomer. The other is a veteran council member who's facing criminal charges.
The options are Josh Kelly, the newcomer to politics, or Royce Fowler who recently resigned his City Council seat to run for mayor. Although it's his first venture in politics, Kelly said Wednesday that he believes he made the right choice.
"I'd been kicking around the idea of public service for a while, talked about the school board, talked about City Council. But this opportunity came up, and I figured why not try to make a difference from the top," Kelly said.
The initial election ended in a 243 to 243 tie. Those results came after three of the five provisional ballots were tossed out and a recount that showed Kelly picking up two votes.
But the results also sparked a controversy over the criminal charges against Fowler. He faces battery and terroristic threats charges that stemmed from a fight with another man.
Dublin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Craig Fraser said the Fowler case will be presented to a grand jury for consideration in February. Fowler declined to discuss the charges. But Fowler said he regrets it happened and will regret it the rest of his life.
Fowler set up a table outside the voting area Wednesday. He had a voting list in his hand and checked off names when the early voters walked out. Early voting for the December 1st runoff was held Monday, Tuesday and until noon Wednesday. Kelly said he was aware that Fowler had been outside the polling place all week but wasn't concerned about it.
Among other issues, Kelly said he decided to run for mayor after learning about the fight and that Fowler was the only candidate.
"I'd be lying if i said that didn't have some small part of me deciding to run for mayor, it did," Kelly said. "It was not the deciding factor, but I did want to give the people of Soperton the opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter, and the best way to voice their opinion is to go out and vote."
The election is Tuesday and the new mayor is scheduled to begin the four-year term January 1st.