Recount today in Duluth; 4 votes may decide runoff winner

Two candidates in two Gwinnett cities came out ahead by narrow margins. In Duluth, one candidate came out ahead by only four votes, leading to a recount. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Two candidates in two Gwinnett cities came out ahead by narrow margins. In Duluth, one candidate came out ahead by only four votes, leading to a recount. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Narrow margin also to decide Suwanee winner

Candidates in two Gwinnett cities who lagged behind their opponents during the general election ended up coming out ahead in unofficial runoff results. But a looming recount could dampen one candidate’s victory celebration.

Early election results indicate that Manfred Graeder bested Brandon Odum by only four votes in Tuesday’s runoff for Post 4 on Duluth City Council. Graeder garnered 50.2% of the vote compared to Odum’s 49.8%.

A recount will take place on Thursday afternoon at Duluth City Hall, said Teresa Lynn, city clerk and assistant city manager for Duluth. Only a few weeks ago, Odum came out ahead in the general election, capturing 41.7% of the vote compared to Graeder’s 37.7%.

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Early election results indicate that Manfred Graeder (left) won the runoff election for Post 4 on Duluth City Council by only four votes. Brandon Odum (right) requested a recount, which the city will conduct on Thursday.

Credit: Contributed

Early election results indicate that Manfred Graeder (left) won the runoff election for Post 4 on Duluth City Council by only four votes. Brandon Odum (right) requested a recount, which the city will conduct on Thursday.

Credit: Contributed

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Early election results indicate that Manfred Graeder (left) won the runoff election for Post 4 on Duluth City Council by only four votes. Brandon Odum (right) requested a recount, which the city will conduct on Thursday.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“I couldn’t believe it,” Graeder told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday when asked about the four-vote margin. Impressed by the 916 ballots cast, he added that he believes his door-to-door campaigning and phone bank efforts boosted his numbers in the runoff.

Graeder, who works for a tech company and has lived in Duluth since 2003, will take office in January if the unofficial results hold up. He would fill the seat vacated by longtime Councilmember Kelly Kelkenberg, who died earlier this year.

To the north of Duluth, the lead candidate in the general election for Post 5 on Suwanee City Council met a similar fate in the runoff. David Martinez captured a higher percentage in the general election than incumbent Councilmember Pete Charpentier, but he fell short by 33 votes in the runoff.

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Pete Charpentier is set to hold another four-year term on Suwanee City Council. Election results still need to be certified by the city, but as of Wednesday afternoon, no recount had been requested.

Credit: Contributed

Pete Charpentier is set to hold another four-year term on Suwanee City Council. Election results still need to be certified by the city, but as of Wednesday afternoon, no recount had been requested.

Credit: Contributed

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Pete Charpentier is set to hold another four-year term on Suwanee City Council. Election results still need to be certified by the city, but as of Wednesday afternoon, no recount had been requested.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Charpentier received 51.4% of the vote in Tuesday’s election, while Martinez received 48.6%. The incumbent, who has lived in Suwanee for more than two decades and works as a senior director for a payment service provider, is set to start his next term in January.

In a Wednesday email, Charpentier said he’ll focus on maintaining safety while allowing controlled appropriate growth to come to Suwanee. “I want to continue the momentum that makes Suwanee a great place to live,” he said.

Election results still need to be certified in both cities. Robyn O’Donnell, city clerk and elections superintendent for Suwanee, said in a Wednesday email that she does not see the need for a recount.

“It was a true collaborative effort by my supporters to get my message out and encourage voters to participate,” said Charpentier in response to the results.

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