Bob Pettit won the race for North Augusta mayor in an election that saw huge turnout by city standards.
The retired Air Force colonel received 1,849 votes, 66 percent, to Brett Brannon's 952 votes, 34 percent.
"It's a big challenge. I'll rest for a couple of days and then start getting involved," he said. "Project Jackson needs a lot of attention."
Brannon, a developer and owner of Georgia-Carolina Physical Therapy, said despite the loss he was happy to see so many people come out to vote.
"As long as the community's engaged, we're all winners," he said.
Coming in a steady stream all day, 2,822 voters cast ballots. That's almost 18 percent of the city's 16,000 registered voters and by far the biggest turnout of the last four elections. The closest was in 2011, when Lark Jones and three council members were on the ballot, at 10 percent.
Voters also returned all three incumbents to city council. Pat Carpenter got 2,056 votes, Fletcher Dickert got 2,100 votes and David McGhee got 1,703 votes. Tony Carr, a local artist making his first run for public office, got 1,327.
Walker Posey, chairman of the North Augusta Republican Party, declared it the night's other big winner and said he thought the lively mayoral race between Pettit and Brannon drove turnout.
Dickert said he was "overwhelmed" by his support and thanked his voters.
"I'm looking forward to serving the city for another four years."
Carpenter and McGhee expressed similar sentiments.
Asked what she wanted to say to voters, Carpenter said, "Just a big, big thank you."