As most expected, the race for mayor of Augusta will not be settled without a runoff. Neither former Richmond County Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick nor local businessman Garnett Johnson reached the threshold to win outright in the May 24 primary election.
Kendrick ended the night with 14,058.votes and 39.39% of the vote and Johnson garnered 13,848.votes and 38.80 % with all precincts reporting. These numbers put the two candidates in a statistical dead heat at the outset of the runoff.
The closest candidate to Kendrick and Johnson vying for mayor was former Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams who secured 9% of the vote. Williams says there was no way for him to compete with two very well funded candidates.
“I’m licking my wounds and I’ll be alright tomorrow, But I don’t like to go around and ask people for money, that can get you in trouble, so I kinda relied on my name recognition and I guess that didn’t work,” Williams said.
While Williams, who was endorsed by former Augusta Mayor Bob Young, admits he was part of the swing vote leading to a runoff, he says he is holding off on an endorsement for now.
“I have talked to both candidates, and I see the pros and cons, I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Williams said.
When reached by phone, Johnson said he was happy with the outcome of the primary and looks forward to the next leg of campaigning.
“I’m proud of the race we ran and I am going to continue to tell my story and spread the message that I stand on the side of the taxpayer,” Johnson said.
Steven Kendrick echoed much the same sentiments, noting that he also will be doubling down on sending his message out to voters to keep them interested and engaged in the process.
“I am going to continue to make sure people know what I stand for and I am confident that, in the end, the voters will make the right decision,” Kendrick said.
None of the other challengers for Augusta mayor, Charlie Hannah, Lori Myles, Robert Ingham, A.K. Hasan, Lukas V. Johnson and Donald Bradshaw managed to achieve much of a dent past the frontrunners. With 3.5% of the vote, Lori Myles was the highest vote getter past Kendrick, Johnson and Williams and Ingham finished out last with .66% of the vote.