Residents in Ringgold exercised their civic rights on Tuesday, Nov. 5, by electing the incumbent mayor to a second term and choosing two new City Council members to be in the fold for the next four years.

After all the votes were finally tallied, Mayor Nick Millwood defeated Tony Hullender and Paul Lee to win a second term.

Incumbent Sara Clark (373 votes – 24%) was joined by Jake Haynes (304 – 20%) and Rhonda Swaney (334 – 22%) as victors for three at-large City Council seats. Also in the race were Charlie A. Lamar (236 -15%), Ray Reavely (150 — 10%) and Donald R. Pangle (148 — 10%).

Millwood garnered 413 votes (64%) to Hullender’s 176 (27%) and Lee’s 55 (9%) to earn his second term.

Millwood was first elected in 2015 after narrowly beating out Hullender in a runoff after neither man accumulated the required 50% of the votes plus one to win the seat.

After the election results became official, Millwood took to social media to thank his wife, those who helped with his campaign, and the residents of Ringgold.

“The biggest thanks goes to my constituents,” Millwood said. “Regular encouragement and uplifting messages throughout this process has helped brighten my days through a difficult campaign season. I truly love my city, and the things that bring us together are always more plentiful than the things that divide us.”

Millwood added that being re-elected has him excited and ready to work even harder over the next four years.

“Thank you again Ringgold,” Millwood said. “Your overwhelming vote of confidence has left me with a renewed motivation to work hard on your behalf and make our city proud.”

As for the City Council winners, Clark stays in her seat for a second term while Haynes and Swaney will take over for Larry Black and Terry Crawford.

Haynes has previous experience on the council, having served from 2012-15; however, Swaney will be a first-time council member, an endeavor she says has her excited and humbled.

“What an absolutely amazing feeling it is when people in a community feel strongly enough about you that they cast a vote for you to represent them in local decisions,” Swaney said.

As election day unfolded, Swaney said, there were some nerves, but that she could barely believe the results.

“I was excited and nervous on Tuesday,” she said. “After the results were announced, I literally could not believe that it had gone the direction that it did.”

Swaney says she’s excited change and bringing more ideas to the city.

“The people of Ringgold are beginning to see that change is not bad, and it can actually be very good for the people of this city,” Swaney said. “I want to tell Ringgold that I look forward to working for you. I am excited about big changes and implementing some amazing ideas in the coming four years.

According to the Catoosa County Elections Board, the city of Ringgold recorded a 34.2% voter turnout for the election with 648 of 1,894 active voters casting ballots this time around.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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