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Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 9:08pm

Savannah Mayoral Race Heads To Run Off

Savannah voters whittled a crowded six person race for mayor down to two candidates Tuesday night.

Both candidates are sitting members of the city council.

Edna Jackson was the front runner from the start.

The retired college administrator had the support of the local chamber of commerce and led fundraising.

She finished first with about 36% of the vote.

She thanked supporters but told them to get back to work.

"It's not over," Jackson said. "It's not over until December sixth."

Jackson is running as a peacemaker following a tumultuous year on city council.

"It is not about the mayor making all of the decisions," Jackson says. "It's about all of us listening together and coming up with a consensus of where we want to see the city to go."

Jeff Felser came in second with about 23% of the vote.

The attorney claimed underdog position.

"To be in the run off is an extreme honor and privilege," Felser said. "We're in it to win it."

Felser is channeling a message of change.

"People have a choice of whether it's going to be more of the same for the next four to eight years or they're going to take a chance and go forward," Felser said.

The two climbed past a former mayor, a former state senator and two others to win run off berths.

Whoever wins next month will join four new and four returning members on city council.

Current mayor Otis Johnson is barred from serving a third consecutive term.

But he has loomed large in the race as the candidates -- including Jackson and Felser -- have chosen messages that explicitly or implicitly serve to distance them from his embattled last year in office.

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