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Horton claims Covington mayoral seat
Baggett to succeed Whatley; Floyd beats out incumbent
Steve Horton
Steve Horton celebrated a victory on Tuesday night, Nov. 5, 2019, when he claimed the Covington mayoral seat with 60.39% of the votes. - photo by Caitlin Jett
Editor’s note

In the previous subhead of this article, it had been stated that Baggett beat out an incumbent; however, Baggett will succeed Whatley, who will retire at the end of this year.

COVINGTON, Ga. — A day of campaigning led to a night of celebration for Steve Horton, who claimed the Covington mayoral seat from incumbent Ronnie Johnston on Tuesday night, Nov. 5.

It was closely contested among Johnston, Steve Horton and Eric Threets, but Horton prevailed with 60.39% of the votes. Johnston came in second place with 35.65% of the votes.

Horton celebrated the victory with friends and family in the square, and he told The Covington News that he felt "overwhelmed but in a good way."

"We knew we had a lot of support but I didn't take anything for granted. I've said since we've started campaigning it's all about the town. It's all about the people. The people spoke tonight," he said. "I'm overwhelmed but I'm humbled by that support from the citizens."

With people coming first in Horton's mind, he knows that he will have to reach out to people and see what direction they want the city of Covington to move in under his direction.

"First things first, I want to get a little better feel of what the public wants from this point on and how we start that road, but we have to work with these other council people to know what they want to do," he said. "For me, I want to know what direction the city wants to go into and the local businesses and what they have to say." 

Horton is very proud to have earned the new position of mayor, but knew he had plenty of people to thank for their support throughout this process. 

"I couldn't have done it without them, couldn't have done it without everybody in this town," he said. "I told one person over here, 'Nobody does anything alone,' and so I'm just one person in the middle of this movement that's occurring right now and thankful to be a part of it."

Horton was the previous city manager for Covington, holding the position from 2005 to 2012. While serving as city manager, Covington became a 'City of Ethics,' was named a City of Excellence in 2003 and received an award for planning monies as a result of being named a recipient of the Atlanta Regional Commission's Livable Centers Initiative Program in 2005.

Along with these successes, Horton also brought the city of Covington to a national distinction that could only be matched by two other cities in the country. During his tenure as city manager, Horton helped lead the city of Covington to become one of three cities to have four departments as nationally accredited agencies.

Johnston declined to comment Tuesday night.

Baggett, Floyd claim council seats

In East Ward, Post 2, Fleeta Baggett faced off against Steve Plitt. Baggett received 54.13% of the votes and will succeed Councilman Michael Whatley, who has served since 2000.

In Post 3, East Ward, retired Covington fire Chief Don Floyd faced off against Councilman Josh McKelvey. Floyd beat out McKelvey with 52.76% of the votes.

In Post 1, West Ward, Councilman Kenneth L. Morgan was unopposed in seeking a second term.

The 'brunch bill,’ non-binding referendum pass

With 66.43% of the votes, the "brunch bill" was passed in the city. The bill will give the city the authority to allow sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages by the drink between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

With 60.41% of votes, a non binding referendum was passed, which will regulate alcohol consumption in the downtown district, and at Legion Field.

Caitlin Jett, staff writer, contributed to this article.