CANTON - Former two-term City Councilman Bill Grant will be Canton's new mayor beginning in January. 

Grant, a design business owner who was mayor pro tem and a Ward 2 council member before stepping down to qualify to run for mayor in August, out-polled retired educator Dwight Pullen 1,939 votes to 659 votes. Grant earned 74.5 percent of the vote.

On Wednesday, Grant praised everyone who participated in the election.

"Let me say a big thank you to all of the candidates who stepped up for an opportunity to serve the city of Canton in this election," Grant said in a message on his campaign page. "Campaigning is grueling, thankless work, but you all succeeded in engaging our citizens and creating dialog about how best to move our great city forward. In that, we all win."

Pullen thanked his supporters and congratulated Grant in an election night message.

"It was a fun journey and I will truly cherish the friendships I have made and the people I met through this candidacy," Pullen said. "I congratulate my opponent on a well run race and look forward to finding new ways to better this amazing community I call home."

In the tight Ward 3 race, challenger Brooke Schmidt earned 1,314 votes to incumbent Farris Yawn's 1,201. Schmidt took 52.1 percent of the votes cast to win the seat.

"I couldn’t be more excited to get to work for our beautiful city and its amazing people. I am in awe of the new relationships I’ve already built and the ones yet to come," Schmidt said in a social media message to supporters.

Yawn offered encouragement to the new mayor and council taking over in January.

"We did not get the result we hoped for but I pray the new council will put the citizens first and do what is best for Canton’s future," Yawn said in a message to supporters.

In Ward 1, incumbent JoEllen Wilson held off two challengers to retain her seat. She won 1,465 votes, or 59.3 percent of the total over Bob Reilly (515 votes, 20.9 percent) and Kathy Strom (474 votes, 19.2 percent).

"Thank you to my opponents, Kathy Strom and Bob Reilly, for a clean, upstanding race," Wilson said in an election night message on her campaign Facebook page. "Thank you to everyone who voted for me, who donated to my campaign, who put signs at their homes and businesses, who worked on my campaign, who sent well wishes and prayers. This win is for us all. It was a team effort."

In Ward 2, newcomer Shawn Tolan ran unopposed.

Mayor Gene Hobgood did not seek re-election.

Grant and council members will be sworn in at their first meeting, which is 6 p.m. Jan. 2 in the council chambers at city hall, 110 Academy St.

Managing Editor

Gary Tanner is managing editor of The Cherokee Tribune, Cherokee Ledger-News and Cherokee Life magazine. He has been working as a journalist since 1985.

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