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Political Debates
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By: Eddy Gifford, Publisher


Election day has come and gone, for a few weeks anyway, but exceptionally close races kept the night interesting.

On Tuesday, May 20th, Georgians went to the polls to vote in the earliest Georgia Primary in history and will now have to wait until July to determine the few run-off races.

Official and complete results were released on Friday and all the totals from Tuesday’s election were the same.

Several local races came down to the final numbers reported and some of those candidates now face two more months of campaigning with the run-off election scheduled for July 22.

Two Dade County commission seats were up for election and incumbent Scottie Pittman narrowly defeated Nathan Baker to retain his seat. The final count was 725 for Pittman and 710 for Baker.

The other commission race will be decided in a run-off between incumbent Mitchell Smith and former Dade County Commissioner Lamar Lowery. Smith fell just three votes short of winning the seat without a run-off getting 718 votes to 495 for Lowery and 227 for another former Commissioner Terry Phillips.

Two seats on the Dade County Board of Education were also up for election. The District 2 seat will have a new representative as Jeff Forester decided not to seek re-election. This race turned out to be one of the closet ever as the three candidates were separated by just six votes.

Jennifer Hartline came out on top with 459 votes. She was followed by Summer Kelly with 455 and Larry Williams received 453 votes. Hartline and Kelly will be in the run-off election in July.

The other Board of Education seat is currently held by Cindy Shaw who ran unopposed on the Republican ticket but will now face Democrat Jane Dixon who defeated Ronald Baldwin. Dixon received 190 votes to 48 for Baldwin. Shaw received 1,049 votes.

State House District 1 was a battle between two Dade County residents and one from
Walker County. Current Representative John Deffenbaugh was challenged by former Dade County Commissioner Robert Goff and Walker County resident Alan Painter.

In Dade County Goff came out on top with a total of 735 votes while Deffenbaugh received 469 and Painter 292.

The winner of the run-off will face Thomas McMahan of Rising Fawn in the November election as he ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

With the Walker County totals added in Deffenbaugh came out on top with 1,519 while Goff finished with 941, which set up a run-off between the two on July 22.

State Senator Jeff Mullis defeated Thomas Dooley to keep his seat getting 967 votes in Dade while Dooley totaled 476. Mullis easily won all the other counties in his district as well.

U. S. Representative Tom Graves won re-election as well getting 975 votes in Dade to 382 for challenger Kenneth Herron, Sr. Graves had similar total in the other counties in the district as well.

The vote on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) was easily extended with a vote of 1,238 for and 579 against. This is a continuation of the current tax that was set to expire soon. The local sales tax rate remains at seven percent.




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