Election aftermath — New sheriff, runoffs for 2 commission races, T-SPLOST a bust
Last week’s primary election is over, with at least one new member elected to the Fayette County commission and to the school board, along with a new county sheriff as Barry Babb unseated incumbent lawman Wayne Hannah. [Editor Cal Beverly opines on "What it all means" here.]
But it’s not over: local voters still have to settle three runoff races on Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Two county commission posts and the race for the 63rd District seat in the Georgia House of Representatives remain for the taking since none of those candidates got more than 50 percent of the votes.
That means three more weeks of campaigning for county commission Post 2 candidates Sheila Huddleston and David Barlow and for commission Post 3 candidates Lee Hearn and Randy Ognio. Both races are on the Republican ballot and voters countywide are allowed to weigh in on both posts.
Campaigning is also extended for two Democrats seeking the new 63rd District seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, as the two leading vote-getters will face off: Ronnie Mabra and T.J. Copeland. Not all Fayette residents will vote in this race as the 63rd district is limited to the unincorporated Fayette area north and east of Fayetteville, along with nearly all of Fayetteville.
If your mind is made up already, you can vote Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the next two weeks at three locations in the county: Town Hall in Tyrone, the Peachtree City Library or the Fayette County Elections Office in downtown Fayetteville.
Voters are reminded that if they voted a Democratic or Republican ballot in the primary, they will have to use the same party’s ballot in the runoff election, said Elections Supervisor Tom Sawyer.
However, voters who chose a non-partisan ballot in the primary will be able to choose a Democrat or Republican ballot in the runoff election.
Those wanting an absentee ballot by mail are urged to file their application as soon as possible so they can be mailed in time, elections officials said.
In the Post 2 race last week, Barlow got 40.3 percent of the vote, with Huddleston close behind at 38.9 percent and former commissioner Jack Smith at a 20.7 percent showing.
The Post 3 race had Ognio leading with 43.4 percent of the vote and incumbent Hearn in second at 38.19 percent. Political newcomer Susan Stopford tallied 18.4 percent.
The winner of the Post 2 and Post 3 runoffs will effectively win the seat as there is no Democratic challenger qualified for the November general election.
In the race for the 63rd District House seat, Mabra got 47 percent of the vote in the district, followed by Copeland at 28.1 percent and challenger Linda Pritchett at 24.9 percent.
The winner of the Democratic runoff will effectively win the seat as there is no Republican challenger signed up for the race.
The remainder of the district snakes northward in a sliver of unincorporated south Fulton County that runs up to College Park, and also to the southwest into the southern tip of Clayton County that rests between the Fayette and Henry county lines.
Voters last week settled one of the three seats on the commission, bouncing Post 1 commissioner Robert Horgan in favor of local businessman Charles Oddo.
Last week’s election also delivered definitive results in other races, particularly in the battle for county sheriff where former sheriff’s Captain Barry Babb defeated incumbent Sheriff Wayne Hannah by corralling 63.7 percent of the vote.
Woolsey voters deadlocked on a referendum to allow beer and wine sales on Sundays with 20 voting for and 20 voting against. The tie vote means the measure was unsuccessful.
The 76 percent of Fayette voters opposing the regional transportation sales tax (T-SPLOST) were backed up by voters in the metro Atlanta region whose ballots defeated the proposal region-wide with more than 62 percent of voters in the 10 counties voting “no.”
That means that all counties in metro Atlanta will be subject to a penalty of paying 30 percent towards local road projects funded in part by state and federal grants, up from the current 20 percent level.
Fayette voters also filled two of three available seats on the county board of education as Barry Marchman won 57.5 percent of the vote over challenger Scott Hollowell in the Post 1 race and Mary Kay Bacallao had more than a two-to-one margin over Gary W. Griffin in the Post 2 race.
Bacallao, a Republican, goes on to face incumbent Terri Smith, who until this year had run as a Republican but switched to run as a Democrat in the November general election for the post 2 seat.
In the court system, State Court Judge Carla Wong McMillian defeated challenger Stephen Ott with nearly two-thirds of the vote, and Jason B. Thompson held off a challenge from Catherine Sanderson for a part-time position on the Fayette County Magistrate Court. Thompson took 55.06 percent of the vote.
In the other local contested race, incumbent tax commissioner George Wingo defeated challenger Lee Ann Bartlett with 68 percent of the vote.
In other issues Fayette voters also settled the matter of allowing package beer and wine sales on Sundays in the unincorporated area of the county, a concept that won by nearly a two to one margin.