Election: Brown, McCarty win most of Fayette’s 36 precincts
Incumbents Smith, Maxwell fare best in PTC polls
One of the biggest questions left from last week’s primary election was how deposed Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown, who had seemed to have spent all his political capital in two successive failed elections, managed to unseat sitting Fayette County Commissioner Jack Smith.
Brown has been known as one of the most divisive voices in Fayette’s recent political history, at least to hear it from other elected officials he has clashed with.
But his rallying cry for this campaign, which centered largely on canceling the West Fayetteville Bypass and diverting the funds to other projects, among other things, resounded with voters.
Brown’s surprise win with 7,554 votes to Smith’s 6,613 included romps of more than 60 percent in five precincts. Among those were a 69.44 percent showing in the Hopeful precinct on the far north end of Ga. Highway 92. Likewise Brown trounced Smith in the Europe precinct off Hwy. 279 in north Fayette with 62.59 percent of the vote, with 64.9 percent in the Dogwood precinct in north central Fayette, with 61.36 percent of the vote in the Kenwood precinct in north Fayette at Kenwood Road and with 60.28 percent in the Willow Pond precinct in central Fayette.
By and large most of those five precincts stand to be affected by the bypass that Brown wants to cancel.
Conventional political wisdom gives incumbents an edge, presuming they haven’t done anything to raise the ire of a mass of voters. But the incumbent Smith won only one nine of the county’s 36 precincts, with his best showing in the Aberdeen precinct in north central Peachtree City with 59.33 percent of the vote.
Smith also won a majority of votes in the Peachtree City precincts of McIntosh, Oak Grove, Camp Creek, and Windgate, the Fayetteville precincts of Fayetteville West and Spring Hill and the south Fayette precincts of Brooks and Woolsey. Of these, Smith’s largest victory was 53.61 percent in the Fayetteville West precinct, closely followed by a 53 percent victory in the Camp Creek precinct in southeast Peachtree City.
Along with bringing Brown back into office, voters also favored his informal running mate, Allen McCarty, who joined him on the campaign trail and also sounded a call to halt spending on the West Fayetteville bypass.
McCarty took 7,544 votes to 6,346 for his challenger, incumbent Commissioner Eric Maxwell. McCarty won all but five of Fayette’s precincts; those five were taken by Maxwell.
McCarty had resounding victories of more than 60 percent in five precincts: the Hopeful (68.21 percent), Kenwood (61.36 percent) and Dogwood (62.14 percent) precincts that also heavily favored Brown and also the Flint precinct in eastern Fayette County south of Ga. Highway 54 at 60.35 percent and the Sandy Creek precinct north of Tyrone at 60.17 percent.
Among the five precincts Maxwell won were the Fayetteville West, Brooks, Woolsey, Flat Creek and Aberdeen precincts, with his largest victory in Peachtree City’s Aberdeen area with 55.59 percent of the vote.
Fayette County voters also resoundingly re-elected Dr. Bob Todd to the Fayette County Board of Education with a whopping 61.96 percent of the vote. Challenger Charlie Cave, a political newcomer, won just over 38 percent of the vote.
Todd won each of Fayette’s 36 precincts in the victory, which secures his seat on the board as he faces no Democratic challenger in the general election.
The other school board race, for the post five school board seat, will occur during the November general election as voters will choose between Republican Sam Tolbert and Democrat Laura D. Burgess.
Fayetteville voters also rejected a proposal to redirect tax dollars to redevelop several commercial areas downtown, most of which were on Ga. Highway 85 North and suffering from the mass exodus of stores northward to the Fayette Pavilion area and to a lesser degree the southern part of Fayetteville.
The Tax Allocation District proposal was defeated with 1,168 votes against, compared to 1,041 votes for the concept.
The plan also would have required votes in favor from a majority of the county commission and school board to redirect the property taxes they would have received toward the redevelopment effort.
In addition to blighted commercial areas along Hwy. 85, the proposal approved by the Fayetteville City Council also called for “redevelopment” of an undeveloped tract of land along Ga. Highway 54 West at the entrance to the Villages at LaFayette subdivision.
Not quite 28 percent of the county’s registered voters participated in Tuesday’s primary election, with 19,276 ballots cast among 69,119 registered voters. The final voter turnout was determined to be 27.89 percent.
Among races for the Georgia legislature, Fayetteville’s Emory Wilkerson lost a bid to unseat incumbent District 74 Democrat Roberta Abdul-Salaam, who took 62.6 percent of the vote. Incumbent District 34 Senator Valencia Seay held off two challengers to claim 52.1 percent of the vote in the Democratic race, defeating Travis Spruill and former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill. Despite his controversial one-term reign as sheriff, Hill managed 39.4 percent of the vote district-wide with 4,757 supporters to Seay’s 6,294 votes.
In statewide races, Fayette Republican voters resoundingly supported Karen Handel for the party’s nomination as governor. Handel won 38 percent of the vote here with Nathan Deal finishing second with 24.35 percent. The two are heading to a statewide runoff election Aug. 10.
On the Democratic side, Gov. Roy Barnes handily carried Fayette County with 73.93 percent of the vote as he cruised to victory statewide for the Democratic nomination. In November Barnes will face the winner of the Handel-Deal runoff.
Also headed for a runoff statewide are:
• Gail Buckner (35.1 percent) and Georganna Sinkfield (22.6 percent) in the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State
• Sam Olens (39.9 percent) and Preston W. Smith (30.6 percent) in the Republican nomination for Attorney General;
• Republicans Ralph Hudgens (20.7 percent) and Maria Sheffield (19.6 percent) for their party’s nomination for state Insurance Commissioner.
Georgia voters also decided a number of other statewide races in Tuesday’s primary:
• Carol Porter won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor with 69.7 percent of the vote. She will face Republican incumbent Casey Cagle in November’s general election;
• Brian Kemp won the Republican nomination for secretary of state with 59.2 percent of the vote. He will face the winner of the Buckner-Sinkfield runoff.
• Michael Thurmond handily won a two-man race for the Democratic nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Thurmond in November will face incumbent Johnny Isakson.
• Ken Hodges won the Democratic nomination for attorney general with 65.5 percent of the vote over challenger Rob Telihet. He will face the winner of the Olens-Smith runoff in November.
• John Barge won the Republican nomination for state school superintendent with 51.9 percent of the vote. He will face Democrat Jim Martin, who won a three-way race for the Democratic nomination with 54.9 percent of the vote.