First Black, First Female Elected Mayor in Town's 150 Year History

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It was a tight race against a three-time incumbent, but Mary Jo Haywood pulled off a victory with 53 percent of the vote, and now she says it's time for both sides to unite.

The people of Camilla, Georgia have spoken.

"Well, it's just time for a change," said resident Robert Knight. "The way things have been, they can't get no worse."

The first black and first female will become mayor effective January 1. It's a history-making decision and people are taking notice. State election monitors were even on hand to make sure the election ran smoothly.

"Well people have been calling and asking about the historic aspects of the win," said Haywood, adding, "that part really hasn't sunk in yet."

The race first made headlines when Haywood reported several of her signs stolen and found them dumped in the trash. Her supporters suspected racism, and news of the theft fired up supporters living in the largely black north side of town.

Camilla's north precinct really helped Haywood win this election, out of the nearly 400 votes cast there, only 14 voted for her opponent."

Haywood said, "You can see that most of the results are primarily down racial lines, so that is something we have to address. In the south side, where the racial divide is almost equal, the vote is almost equal.

Haywood says she'll unite her community by tackling common problems like skyrocketing utility rates, and she wants to work with churches and hold forums to heal any racial divide.

But for some residents, that might not be necessary.

"Well, I think that's just great and it's wonderful. I think we are progressing, don't you?"

We tried to reach Jay Powell, Haywood's opponent, today to get his reaction, but were unable to reach him.

As of noon Wednesday, Haywood said he hadn't called to concede the race or congratulate her.

Camilla officials say the results are still not certified, but there are so few provisional ballots to cast, they will not affect the result of this election.



 
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