ERWIN — Greg Lynch bested a familiar opponent by a mere three votes in Thursday's general election to retain his job for another four years.
According to unofficial totals, the incumbent Unicoi County Mayor received a total of 1,552 votes for 47.86 percent of the vote, while Larry Rose received 1,549 votes for 47.76 percent.
A total of 3,243 votes were cast in the county mayor's race, according to unofficial figures.
Lynch said Thursday evening that he is hopeful the numbers stand after the results are certified and he was surprised by the margin. He also expressed his appreciation for his supporters and those who trust him to lead the county for another term.
"I'm a lot more excited than I sound right now. I've heard of these close races, but I've never been in one," Lynch said. "I know Larry worked real hard, and I do appreciate those who voted for me and supported me. Of course, three votes, that's not a comfortable margin, but I guess I win is a win."
This will mark Lynch's third term as county mayor, an office he has held since 2006. Former county mayor and independent candidate Larry Rose was the only other candidate for county mayor to appear on the general election ballot.
Rose held the office of Unicoi County mayor from 2002-2006, and defeated Lynch for the office in 2002. Lynch would win the rematch for the office of county mayor four years later, and he also defeated Rose in the 2010 Republican primary.
After the final general election numbers came in, Lynch was complimentary of the man he has faced several times.
"Larry this time wanted to do to me what I did to him in 2006 by running as an independent, which I thought was a smart move on his part and he came really close, and he should be congratulated for coming so close in this race" Lynch said.
Rose said Thursday had "no idea" at this point whether he would seek a recount, but he congratulated his opponent on his campaign.
"I congratulate Greg on his victory. It's been a good race," Rose said.
Lynch beat out Erwin resident Johnny Day in this year's Republican primary to earn the party's nomination in the general election. Following the primary, Day announced he intended to seek the mayor's office as a write-in candidate in the general election. A total of 142 write-in votes were cast in the race for Unicoi County mayor.
If the result stands after the unofficial results become official, Lynch said he intends to get to work on tems related to the state park at Rocky Fork and work to bring other improvements to the southern end of the county. Lynch also said he intends to work with other officials to promote economic development and tourism within the county.
But Lynch said an immediate concern is getting the county's 2014-15 budget squared away. Currently, the county is facing a budgetary shortfall of around $533,000. The Unicoi County Commission's Budget Committee is scheduled to meet each Tuesday and Thursday for the remainder of this month to pare down the county's budget.comments powered by Disqus