CAIRO -- Cairo citizens elected Richard VanLandingham as mayor with 887 votes on Tuesday, ousting incumbent Dan Wells, who garnered 461 votes.

For the three-way contested District 4 city council seat, challenger James Douglas and incumbent Adrian Clark will face off in a run-off Dec. 6. Douglas obtained 71 votes; Clark, 84. The other challenger, the Rev. Jeffrey Mills, received 53 votes.

Citizens standing outside The Cairo Messenger office looking at the election postings shared their opinions about the turnout.

"I'm glad we got a new mayor," said resident Carolyn Griffin. "It's just time for a change."

Griffin said she expects VanLandingham will be "more considerate of the way money will be used for the City of Cairo," although she said she holds no bad feelings toward Wells, whom she also considers a friend.

A.J. Childs also supports the way the mayor's race turned out.

"It's good to see Mr. Richard win," he said.

He wasn't surprised VanLandingham won by such a large margin.

"I actually figured it'd probably be like that," Childs said. "The city council -- I wasn't quite sure."

Another resident, Seth Maxwell, also supported a change in mayoral leadership.

"It's about time for a change," he said. "I support it."

Maxwell said he hopes VanLandingham brings "a new, better government, one that will treat everybody fairly."

Candidates also shared their feelings about Tuesday night's turnout.

VanLandingham said he was humbled by the city's choice. He was not unprepared for the number of votes he gained.

"I had talked to over 1,500 people personally, " he said. He said he walked a lot of neighborhoods, introducing himself, and knew a large percentage of people said they would vote for him.

"(Also), my team called over 1,000 people last night," he said.

VanLandingham said as new mayor, he intends to do what he campaigned he would do: work on the city's financial situation and bring utility rates to a more livable rate. He said he would also be work aggressively in Cairo and Grady County to create better jobs and work closely with the city council to "create a vision for the community."

The newly elected mayor thanked the city for its votes.

The Thomasville Times-Enterprise was unable to reach Wells for comment Tuesday before deadline. A phone message left at Wells' residence around 8:40 p.m. was not immediately returned.

Regarding the District 4 seat, run-off candidate Douglas said he thought the election revealed "a good, clean race."

"I feel fortunate to be in the runoff," Douglas said. Regarding preparation for the runoff, Douglas said: "It appears I have to do a lot more harder work."

Clark was surprised at the numbers he saw posted.

"It's closer than I had expected it to be," he said.

He wasn't sure how he would handle preparation for the runoff.

"I don't know just yet," he said. "I'll have to go home and see what I can do about it."

In a phone interview, Mills talked about the number of votes he received.

"Clark and Douglas ran a good, clean race," he said. "We just had a low voter turnout."

Despite his surprise at the numbers, Mills said he felt good about how he did from an historic viewpoint.

"I thought I should have gotten it, but that was the first time that a black person ever ran in that district," Mills said. "But I think I did really, really good for the first time a black person ever ran. I'm not disappointed, but I'm looking at the state senate race now."

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