COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – As early voting begins in Columbus, two candidates are in a tight runoff for District 7’s city council seat. 

After 28 years, Columbus City Council’s Mimi Woodson is retiring from her position. As her seat is up for grabs, political newcomers Joanne Cogle and Laketha Ashe are looking to step up to the plate. 

Both candidates are in the final push; they are bracing the Georgia heat to do some last minute sign waving and knocking on doors. In the tight race, every vote counts —  today Ashe and Cogle held “Meet the Candidate” events to encourage voters to head to the polls.

Laketha Ashe is a small business owner who has called Columbus home for over 20 years. She has a masters degree in psychology; she says she believes this will help in getting to the root of crime in Columbus. She says her entrepreneurial background has prepared her for the problem solving and teamwork necessary for this leadership role. 

“I’m relatable, I’m accountable,” Ashe said. “I’m committed to you as a citizen. I’m committed. I want to not only be your voice— a lot of us always speak of being the voice for the community. I want to restore voices. That’s what’s important right now.”

Joanne Cogle is also a small business owner in Columbus. She founded a race company called TriColumbusGA, which brings sporting events like Triathlons to the Fountain City. She also founded the athletic gym, CrossFit CSG. She says she is active in Columbus’ health and fitness space and believes her resilience as an athlete will serve her in the runoff. 

“I’m an endurance athlete so I know what it takes to run the longest race of my life,” Cogle said. “Being a race production company and owning a small business is also about customer service….  but customer service is what a city councilor’s job is and that’s paramount.” 

Columbus voters can cast their ballots at the City Services Center from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  

Early voting started June 13 and goes until June 17. Election day is Tuesday, June 21.