Despite a three-person race, Tumlin earned 3,782 votes (80 percent). Political newcomer Chris Neill got 639 votes (14 percent), and Bill Bolton took 278 votes (6 percent).
There were also 23 write-in votes, for a total of 4,722 ballots cast. With 31,377 registered voters in the city, turnout was 15 percent.
"I think I had a leg up because of name recognition from the Board of Lights and Water, the Marietta Board of Education, active in the community and the Georgia House," Tumlin said after his win.
Tumlin, a tax attorney who has also served in the state House, said he'll be doing a lot of work between now and January, when he takes office.
"I would like to meet with the councilmen and ask them what committee they want to be on, what are their goals, and start a rapport with each and every one of them. I'd like to meet with the staff one on one to get their particular goals. I want to ride on the back of a garbage truck, a police truck, fire truck. I'd like to see what the people who deliver the services do. I want to be interactive with staff," he said.
He announced he would seek the office on June 11, shortly after the surprise announcement by Mayor Bill Dunaway that he would not seek reelection. Tumlin said he's flirted with the idea of running for mayor since the mid-1990s, but when Dunaway was first elected to the spot in 2002, he said he couldn't run against an old family friend.
Since the last campaign-finance filing on Sept. 30, he has raised $27,000, he said.
As mayor, Tumlin wants to help bring a divided, bickering City Council back together, strengthen the city's ethics code and make city government more transparent.
"Number one, I listen. Two, I can hold my tongue when I have to. I historically don't burn my bridges," Tumlin said. "I want to walk a tight path, a straight path, walk with integrity and walk humbly, and listen to the citizens and work with the city council."
He sees the mayor's position as that of chairman of the board rather than CEO, setting policy and allowing staff to carry out that policy.
Tumlin lives in Whitlock Heights, with his wife, Jean Alice. He is the father of three and grandfather of two. He will be the 54th mayor of Marietta.
For her part, Jean Alice Tumlin said she is prepared for her husband's new job.
"I'm ready to be First Lady and spend a lot of time at home alone, probably," she said, laughing.
Challenger Chris Neill, 32, said he considered his 639 votes "a good vote of confidence." The former teacher said his first political campaign was a fun experience.
"Steve took the lion's share, but it wasn't 100 percent, and if anything at least we were forced to talk about the issues," he said. "Running for political office is not an easy task, and it's one of those things a lot of Americans take for granted. I've learned a lot about our city and the government. It was very eye-opening from multiple perspectives."
Bolton, 61, has previously run for mayor, governor and even president of the United States.