An incumbent and a newcomer earned two Grovetown city council seats in a very light turnout Tuesday for the municipal election.
Councilman Bruce Stoddard and businessman Sonny McDowell won the two seats in the at-large election. Incumbent Rosa Lee Owens came in third.
Only 274 voters -- about 6 percent of the city's registered voters -- cast ballots in the election, said Debbie Marshall, executive director of the Columbia County Board of Elections.
"It is always a low turnout for Grovetown," Marshall said, adding that 21 votes were mailed in and 11 people voted in person prior to the election.
A total of 485 votes were cast, including six write-in votes. Voters could vote twice -- one vote for each open seat.
McDowell, 54, the president of Grayco Detention Equipment, earned a seat on the council with 190 -- 39.18 percent -- of the votes.
"I'm glad to have this opportunity," McDowell said. "You're probably going to hear a lot out of me in the next year."
McDowell said he hopes to bring a more farsighted approach to the council, especially when it comes to managing the city's growth.
"Be proactive. Try to solve problems before they become problems," McDowell said.
Incumbent Stoddard, 57, retained his city council seat for a third term with 153 -- 31.55 percent -- of the votes.
Stoddard, who doesn't plan to run for a fourth term, said he's ready to continue work on the council and to tackle some big projects and problems in the city.
As a veteran councilman, Stoddard said he can be a cohesive force on council.
"It is going to be good," Stoddard said. "We can all work with each other."
Owens 82, got 28.04 percent for 136 votes. She ran unopposed in 2007 to fill the unexpired term of George James, who resigned to make a successful run for mayor.
Just because she didn't retain her seat, doesn't mean the strong advocate for the city won't have her opinions heard.
McDowell said he admires Owens and hopes to use her as a resource for her passion and ideas.
But it will be a long two months while McDowell waits to officially take his seat.
"I'm so excited about the team we've got on council now," he said.
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