Vote

Voters decided by just one ballot that a new school board member will take the District 6 seat at the beginning of January to finish out the next three years.

In a 191 to 190 vote race, Chris Culver was elected today to serve as the next Polk County Board of Education member over interim school board member Judy Wiggins.

Culver said after learning of the results tonight that he is "excited to serve on the Polk County School Board."

"Judy Wiggins was a fine candidate and has been a phenomenal board member during these past months," he said.

He added that "I look forward to continue moving Polk School District in a positive direction."

Culver won the run-off race between himself and Wiggins, who was appointed in August to serve out the rest of the year in the seat by the board until the election was held and voters got a chance to decide who should fill the seat for the rest of the term.

Culver and Wiggins entered after the pair and candidate Carolyn Williams failed to get enough votes to get a clear majority during the November special election for the Rockmart-area seat.

Early voting held last week gave Culver just a five-vote margin over Wiggins, and lost the general balloting by just four votes during the day's run-off. A 3-0 margin in absentee ballots by mail made the difference, since Culver held a 93-91 victory in absentee in person votes.

Culver said his first priorities would be to look over the Polk School District finances when he enters office, and to hear what the superintendent and board's vision for the future is in the coming years.

"I'm excited to be part of such an outstanding board, and I look forward to making a positive difference in these kids lives," Culver said. "We have one chance to get it right in a 12 year period of these kids lives, and we need to get it right every single year."

Wiggins said she wished Culver luck during a brief interview at the Board of Elections office this evening after results were posted.

"He'll have a wonderful time over the next three years, and I know he's going to do a wonderful job working with a wonderful board," Wiggins said. "They will continue to do the right thing for our students and our staff."

Wiggins said it was unlikely she would seek political office again, but wouldn't completely rule it out. She did however say that no matter what happens from here on out, she will likely continue to help out with local schools.

"I have enjoyed every single minute of this," Wiggins said. "It has put the fire back in me to be involved in Polk School District, helping and doing some other things. And I said the entire time, whatever was supposed to be was the way it was supposed to be."