Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2023

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2023

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Thanks should be given to Governor Brian Kemp, who extended the suspension of the motor fuel sales tax, according to AccessWDUN.

Commuters in Georgia have more to be thankful for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

A press release from the Governor’s Office on Wednesday morning says that due to the ongoing high prices and uncertain economic conditions cause by failed policies out of Washington, D.C. that they hope the continued suspension of the gas tax will deliver relief to families while the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

This marks the third straight month Governor Kemp has suspended the state’s fuel tax on purchases at the pump.

From the Capitol Beat News Service:

Kemp signed an executive order extending the suspension through Nov. 29, which he said will help Georgians cope with high food and travel costs during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The state can easily afford going without the tax revenue the sales tax would have brought after ending the last fiscal year in June with $5 billion in “rainy-day” reserves and $11 billion in undesignated surplus funds, according to a report released last week by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

“Thanks to our responsible approach in budgeting, we’re able to deliver relief to families fighting through the disastrous effects of Bidenomics,” Kemp said Wednesday, criticizing what he called “failed” economic policies coming out of the Biden administration.

“I’m proud this action has helped keep millions of dollars in hardworking Georgians’ pockets and look forward to continuing to see that impact with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching.”

Kemp suspended the gas tax for a second time in September. He suspended the tax for the first time in March of last year and lifted the suspension last January.

From the AJC:

The suspension costs the state — and saves drivers — $150 million to $180 million a month. Kemp said Georgians saved $1.7 billion during the previous 10-month suspension.

Georgia can afford the financial setback. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recent reported the state now has a record $16 billion in its rainy day and “undesignated” reserve funds, though Kemp’s critics say the money should be spent expanding Medicaid and boosting salaries of state employees.

Both Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and House Speaker Jon Burns praised the extension, a sign they will rally Republicans behind a vote this month to ratify Kemp’s orders to suspend the tax.

According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas in Georgia is currently at $2.89, down from $3.16 a month ago and a peak of $4.50 in June 2022.

Expect to hear about this in the General Assembly: local election officials in Lowndes County blame software for an election miscount, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Election officials are blaming a vote-counting discrepancy on state-mandated software that failed to completely load votes from Precinct 10, which votes at the Lowndes County Civic Center.

Officials re-uploaded those ballots and the issue seemed to be resolved around 9:30 p.m.

The second upload did change a few of the totals for Valdosta races, but they did not alter the outcome of any race.

According to numbers released about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, candidates for Valdosta mayor and the at-large Valdosta City Council post received more votes than the total number of ballots cast. Officials reported 4,492 ballots had been cast — but said they believed that number was wrong. The three candidates for Valdosta mayor totaled 4,905 votes while the at-large city council seat’s four candidates totaled 4,713.

About 8:45 p.m., officials updated the turnout numbers to show 5,450 ballots had been cast.

After officials re-uploaded the Precinct 10 ballots, the total of ballots cast was recorded as 5,758.

In alcohol referenda, City of Hahira voters appear to have approved Sunday alcohol sales by the drink, while Brooklet defeated a liquor store referendum.

Warner Robins voters approved a Brunch Bill referendum to allow earlier alcohol sales in restaurants on Sunday, according to 13WMAZ.

This bill would allow restaurants in Warner Robins to serve alcohol earlier, which local restaurants argue will allow them to be more competitive in the world of brunch.

Now, restaurants can only serve alcohol starting at 12:30 p.m., but if approved, they could start selling alcoholic beverages at 11 a.m.

In 2018, the state legislature allowed local municipalities to vote to allow their restaurants to serve alcohol earlier than the state’s 12:30 p.m. start time.

In Houston County, the cities of Perry and Centerville already have brunch bills. Macon-Bibb County and Baldwin County also have approved brunch bills.

Guyton voters will return to the polls in a Runoff Election for Mayor between Russ Deen and Andy Harville, according to the Savannah Morning News.

A runoff occurs when each candidate does not reach 50% plus one vote. Deen finished with 181 votes, Harville secured 166 and Michael Garvin had 159. All results are unofficial until noted otherwise.

Effingham County has not announced the date of the runoff election, but it usually takes place in early December.

In other Guyton races, incumbent City Council members T. Marshall Reiser and Hursula Pelote were beaten by their challengers.

Brookhaven voters will elect a new Mayor in a Runoff Election, according to the AJC.

In Brookhaven, where Mayor John Ernst could not run again because of term limits, none of the four candidates to replace him appeared to garner more than 50% of the vote, which is necessary to avoid a runoff election on Dec. 5.

John Park, a longtime council member, was the top vote-getter but appeared to fall just short of the runoff threshold with all precincts reporting. Lauren Kiefer came in second, but trailed Park by a wide margin.

Park, who was watching results come in at the Red Pepper Taqueria, said he had expected a runoff but was pleased to have what he described as a “commanding lead.” It’s a sign people are generally happy with the way things are, he said.

“Voters are very much in support of what the city has done,” Park said.

In DeKalb County’s largest city, Stonecrest Mayor Jazzmin Cobble looked poised to win her first full term. Cobble was elected in 2022 in a special election after the former mayor pled guilty to federal fraud charges relating to misappropriating pandemic relief funds.

Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton, who was first elected in 2019, faced two challengers in his quest for a second term. Unofficial results show him past the 50.1% majority required to avoid a runoff election.

In Morrow, Mayor John Lampl went head-to-head with City Councilwoman Van Tran. The two regularly disagree during council meetings.

Unofficial results show Lampl ahead of Tran by a roughly two-to-one margin.

Warner Robins City Council Post 2 is extremely close and the apparent lead could change, according to 13WMAZ.

Here are your results for the Warner Robins City Council Post 2:
Ellis Carter: 50% (1,918)
Charlie Bibb: 50% (1,921)

What’s next for Post 2?

These totals do not include any provisional ballots, which are votes that are cast but held due to possible issues. That includes cases where voters show up at the wrong polling places or if there are questions about a voter’s registration.

Because of that — and the three-vote margin — 13WMAZ is not projecting a winner in the Warner Robins Post 2 race. While provisional ballots don’t often decide elections, with the razor-thin margin in this race, they could possibly impact this race.

Across the county, there are four provisional ballots.

Additionally, under Georgia law, Carter can call for a recount because of how close the results are. Carter would be able to call for a recount when the results are certified, and that would include any relevant provisional ballots. The certification process typically happens by Friday.

Warner Robins City Council Post 2 is similarly close, according to 13WMAZ.

A showdown between incumbent Warner Robins City Councilman Charlie Bibb and realtor and veteran Ellis Carter ended this evening in a practical tie. It was an at-large race, meaning all eligible voters in Warner Robins could take part.

Bibb received 1,921 votes and Carter received 1,918 — only three votes between the candidates. But despite coming out with the most votes on Tuesday night, it is not yet smooth sailing to re-election for Bibb.

In fact, a winner in the race still cannot be determined, because there are four votes in Houston County that have not been counted yet.

Those four outstanding ballots are provisional ballots, which are ballots issued when a voter shows up to the polling place but there is an issue that cannot be resolved at the polling place.

We don’t know if there are even three provisional ballots in the Warner Robins council race since there are four across the county. But even if there are not enough votes to flip the race, there is another thing that can prolong the process: a possible recount.

Under Georgia law, any second-place candidate who loses by under 0.5% can call for a recount. In the city council race, Bibb won by .0007% and Carter is within his legal ability to order a recount.

A candidate can only call for a recount once the election results are officially certified, which would include any provisional ballots that were made by eligible voters. That is likely to be in by Friday.

See also: Grovetown City Council.

Also up for election Tuesday was a Grovetown City Council seat. As of 9:05 p.m., the top two vote-getters were Richard Bowman with 834 votes and Eric Blair with 833 votes.

With provisional votes potentially left to be counted, the election could tip in either direction.

Gwinnett County voters turned out a number of local incumbents, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Former Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist Defeats Current Mayor Tim Dunn To Reclaim Office

Crist won by a margin of 57 votes, getting 594 votes compared to Dunn’s 537 votes, according to numbers that were announced at Lilburn City Hall late Tuesday night. The third candidate in the mayoral race, Mohammed Hossain, got 185 votes.

The city’s charter is set up so that whoever gets the most votes, regardless of whether they got more than 50% of the votes cast, wins the election, according to city election officials.

Sugar Hill Voters Oust Three City Council Members In Sweep By Challengers

Kerry Hetherington defeats incumbent Solange Destang in Snellville City Council race; Post 1 race goes to run-off

Norman A. Carter and Catherine Hardrick will take part in the run-off next month after neither candidate reached the required 50 percent-plus-one needed to win the election outright.

Unofficially, Elizdine Heathington received 45 votes or 2.6 percent of the 1,746 ballots cast. Hardrick had 859 votes and Carter had 843. Hardrick and Carter will now vie for the Post 1 seat vacated by Councilman Dave Emanuel after he was elected to and completed three, four-year terms, reaching his term limit.

Josh Bare, Andrew Hixson Win Re-election in Norcross, but Arlene Beckles loses to challenger

At least two of the candidates who ousted incumbents – Johnny Crist in Lilburn Mayor’s race and Gary Pirkle in Sugar Hill Council Post 2 – are former Mayors.

Same story, different names in Cave Spring. From the Rome News Tribune:

Cave Spring’s former mayor Dennis Shoaf won the Post 1 seat on the Cave Spring City Council on Tuesday, beating out incumbent Tom Lindsey and political newcomer Jonathan Mills.

Post 2 incumbent Joyce Mink retained her seat for another four years, besting challengers Nancy Fricks and Michael Baxter.

WRDW surveys local election results in the CSRA.

Harris County voters approved a Special Purpose Local Option Sales tax for Education (E-SPLOST) and a bond referendum, according to WTVM.

Harris County voters decided on a bond referendum for funding an elementary school, as well as the future of the Board of Education’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax – or ESPLOST.

“How impactful that the one penny sales tax is for us. One thing that some people might not understand is the one penny sales tax is spread out among everybody who shops in Harris County – especially tourists who come to Roosevelt State Park, Callaway Gardens… those types of things,” said Finney. “It helps stabilize the property taxes for property owners here in Harris County, so we just want everybody to get out and vote and make what they feel is the best decision for Harris County.”

The bond referendum was passed in a 1,656 to 620 yes vote, while the ESPLOST was passed with a yes vote of 1,649.

Houston County voters approved a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to 13WMAZ.

Back in 2018, local voters agreed to level the 1% sales tax, but voter approval will end in Sept. 2024. Because of that, the county commission is hoping to renew the funding for another six years.

Tax dollars that come in from SPLOST funds go to “capital projects.” That is essentially funds that you can physically see like roads, parks buildings or other similar projects.

Here are the results for Houston County’s SPLOST referendum:
Yes: 73% (5,308)
No: 27% (1,915)

Floyd County voters approved the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to the Rome News Tribune.

All precincts are in: Bojo, Brock and Cochran take Ward 1 and McDaniel, Robinson and Collins take Ward 3. The SPLOST passes by over 1,000 votes. All results were in and totaled by 9 p.m.

SPLOST

Yes 4,669
No 3,596

Rome Commission seats are elected in a unique fashion: the top three in each Ward were elected to seats.

• The City election process has the following features:

• At-Large voting is used, which means that every voter votes for all commissioners, three in each ward.

• Election winners are selected by plurality voting, which means that the top three vote-getters from each wins. No majority is required.

• Elections are non-partisan.

• Commissioners serve staggered four-year terms with Wards 1 and 3 elected together and Ward 2 elected two years later.

• City Commission elects a Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.

Augusta voters approved a “C-SPLOST,” a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to build a new area, according to WJBF.

Lawmakers have been working to pass funding for a new arena for about two years. In a rare show of solidarity, every Augusta commissioner came out in support of the project, urging people to vote yes.

The campaign worked and more than 66 percent of voters voted in favor of the new tax, meaning that new arena is coming.

Also no word yet on when the new sales tax will take effect or when demolition and construction will begin.

From WRDW:

As of late Tuesday, it was passing with 66% “yes” votes and 34% “no” votes.

“It’s been a long road. It’s been a relay race. Like I said, going through the legislature to get it to a vote, to going through the public to educate the people so they would get out and vote. I feel really good about our team because we got double the number of voters that the board of electors thought we would get. And to get this mandate again it’s just a special night. It’s great for Augusta, Georgia,” said Brad Usry, vice chair of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority.

From The Augusta Chronicle:

The tax will raise about $433 million for major renovations to the Augusta Entertainment Complex. This includes a $250 million bond and interest over time through 2043. The vote was authorized by state House Bill 230 earlier this year, leaving the final decision up to voters, and was backed by a number of local organizations.

DeKalb voters approved the extension of the county’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to the AJC.

By a roughly three-to-one margin with all of the county’s precincts reporting, voters chose to extend the county’s 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for another six years, according to unofficial voting tallies Tuesday night.

A separate 1-cent tax, the Equalized Homestead Option Sales Tax, appears to have garnered slightly more support. Voters had to approve both taxes for either one to become effective. The approval keeps DeKalb’s sales tax rate steady at 8%.

The second sales tax, the EHOST, replaces the Homestead Option Sales Tax. The revenue from this 1-cent sales tax is used to reduce property taxes for qualified homeowners. In 2023 under the existing EHOST, owners with a homestead exemption received a $862.92 credit for homes valued at $250,000.

Julianna McConnell was elected to Suwanee City Council Post 1, according to AccessWDUN.

Voters have chosen Julianna McConnell as their Post 1 City Council representative. McConnell garnished nearly 60 percent of the votes over opponents Glenn Weyant and Karim Ladha.

City Council Post 2’s seat goes to incumbent Larry Pettiford, who took in 688 of the 1300 cast votes, defeating challenger Bradley Golz.

The mayor’s race went uncontested, with Jimmy Burnette, Junior winning another full-term in office.

I think the writer meant to write she “garnered” nearly 60%.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson won reelection, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Mayor Van Johnson won his bid for a second term on Tuesday night, beating political rival Kesha Gibson-Carter and newcomer Tyrisha Davis. Johnson cleared the field, taking 77.31% of the 21,696 votes cast.

Johnson won every precinct in Savannah.

“Seventy seven percent is a mandate that people are satisfied,” Johnson said after his watch party at The Odyssey 2.0.

Carol Bell made a comeback, winning the District 1 At-Large city council seat, according to the Savannah Morning News.

With the Chatham County Board of Elections results tracker reporting 100% results at 10:01 p.m., Carol Bell rose from the field of seven candidates to be the clear winner of the Alderman At Large Post 1 race. While it may seem that Bell eked her way to victory with 51.41% of the total votes, the candidate pool of six other people spread out the other 48.59%, eliminating the possibility of a runoff. No other candidate breached 20% of the total turnout.

Bell’s demeanor was calm and collected. She seemed reassured in her victory, which she called a “mandate from the City of Savannah.” She cited her previous experience on council and more than 30 years working in the city as evidence that she can “hit the ground running.”

Bell previously served two terms from District 1 before losing to Kesha Gibson-Carter in 2019, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Alicia Miller Blakely was reelected to her District 2 At-Large city council seat, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Alicia Miller Blakely staved off a staunch challenge by Pat Rossiter for the Post 2 At-Large seat Tuesday, taking 51.59% of the vote. Blakely won by far less than her 20% margin over Tony Center in 2019.

Rossiter visited Blakely after the final votes were cast and the two shared a handshake and a hug.

Rossiter, who was endorsed by Mayor Van Johnson, ran significantly behind Johnson’s margins. Rossiter’s totals were almost 30% behind Johnson’s, although he ran a more competitive race than the 2019 Post 2 At-Large contest.

Five other Savannah City Council (Board of Aldermen) incumbents were reelected, according to the Savannah Morning News.

District 2’s Detric Leggett seeks to cooperate with county and state in next term.

District 3 incumbent Linda Wilder-Bryan avoids a runoff in a crowded field.

District 4 incumbent Nick Palumbo dances into a second term.

[Estella] Shabazz wins fourth term in District 5.

The winner of the Savannah District 6 Alderman race is incumbent Kurtis Purtee.

Albany Mayor Bo Dorough was reelected, according to WALB.

On Tuesday night, Incumbent Bo Dorough won the Albany mayoral election with over 4,000 votes.

Dorough added that he was able to win this year’s election because of hard work and support from residents.

“Also, financial support from friends and family but also determination, hard work, and most importantly I believe is a four-year track record of service to the people of this community,” he said.

Statesboro District 2, City Council member Paulette Chavers won reelection over challenger Lawton Sack, according to the Statesboro Herald.

In Statesboro’s District 2, Councilmember Paulette Chavers won a second four-year term by garnering 332 votes to challenger Lawton Sack’s 107 in the Nov. 7 municipal elections.

Turnout was just 9.6%, with a total of 439 voters participating out of 4,582 registered in the district. But more of those voters came  out Tuesday, the final election day, when 247 voted, than in the three-week window for advancing voting, during which 187 voted in-person and just five returned absentee ballots.

In Brooklet, a referendum proposal that would have enabled the city government to license liquor stores was defeated by just one vote, with 75 people voting “no” and 74 voting “yes.”  Keith Roughton won the three-candidate race for Brooklet City Council Post 1 by garnering 77 votes while Seth Cannon got 38 and Melanie Garcia 31. With Brooklet having 1,338 registered voters and 151 total votes cast, turnout was 11.3%.

Two new Brunswick City Council members were elected, according to The Brunswick News.

City voters elected Lance Sabbe and Gwen Atkinson-Williams to the Brunswick City Commission on Tuesday.

They will replace outgoing Commissioners Julie Martin and Johnny Cason, whose terms are up this year.

Sabbe, who ran for the South Ward seat occupied by Julie Martin, won 60.5% of the vote, or 487 votes. His sole opponent, Christopher Bower, took 39.5%, or 318 votes.

In the campaign for the North Ward seat, Gwen Atkinson-Williams earned 548 votes, or 59.12%, meaning the race will not go to a runoff.

Former Pooler City Council member Karen Williams was elected Mayor, according to WSAV.

She snagged 1,932 votes over her two opponents, Stevie Wall who received 999 votes and Tony Davis who received 414 votes.

Garden City Mayor Bruce Campbell, serving a partial term, was elected to a full term in office, according to WSAV.

He served out the unexpired term of Mayor Don Bethune who stepped down for personal reasons in August of 2022.

Tonight, Campbell defeated challenger Gary Monroe with 64% of the vote.

Bleckley County interim Sheriff Daniel Cape was elected to the full job after his predecessor resigned, according to 13WMAZ.

Daniel Cape has served as interim sheriff for Bleckley County. He faced off against Chris Smith a student resource officer for the sheriff’s office.

Daniel Cape: 1,676 (56.7%)
Chris Smith: 1,279 (43.3%)

After his victory, Cape spoke to 13WMAZ and reacted to securing a full term as sheriff.

“Glad to be here, looking forward to the future. Rocking right on. Some of the things I’ve started on already I get to continue, do even more, and do even bigger and better things,” Cape said. “Show the people of Bleckley County they made the right choice by electing me as their sheriff.”

Jeffrey Wessel was elected as the new Sheriff for Wilcox County after the death of Sheriff Robert Rodgers, according to 13WMAZ.

With Rodgers being re-elected in 2020, the new sheriff will serve Wilcox County until November 2024, which is when Rodgers’ term would have been up.

Here are the final results from that race:

Jeffrey Wessel: 58% (1,052)
Lloyd Bloodworth:  22% (397)
Bruce Carmichael: 15% (278)
Lee Ramirez: 5% (83)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a disaster declaration for four counties in Northwest Georgia, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Impacted counties include Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker, which have sustained eight or more weeks of severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions. This declaration allows USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend essential emergency credit to Georgia farmers affected by these weather events.

“As a seventh generation farmer, I know firsthand the impact drought conditions can have on our agriculture industry, especially those with dryland operations. The lack of moisture in the soil impacts every aspect of an agricultural operation, from delaying winter grains to forcing farmers to purchase hay to feed their cattle,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. “We’re grateful to Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the importance of providing essential assistance to our Northwest Georgia farmers.”

USDA FSA loans can be used to meet various recovery requirements, including replacing essential items such as farm equipment or livestock, reorganizing a farming operation, or refinancing specific loans. FSA reviews all loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability, and Georgia farmers and producers in the counties below are eligible to apply. The application deadline is June 30, 2024.

Contiguous counties also eligible: Floyd, Gordon, Whitfield.

Columbus City Council voted to build a new judicial building, according to WTVM.

The brand-new judicial building got new approval on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Now things will move forward with the eight-story building, which will be in its current location.

The judicial building will have eight floors with 18 courtrooms and underground parking. The construction is expected to cost around $185 million. Those funds come from bonds sold and SPLOST tax dollars.

“Yeah, we’ve been engineering this thing because when COVID drove all the costs, we were widely over budget. We were like $50 million and that we just couldn’t do that. So, they’ve made a lot of different adjustments. And one is to continue to use the wings and the former parking underneath and that way it’s going to save the taxpayers and a lot of money.”

 

 

 

 

Tiffany Zeigler was elected Mayor of Pembroke, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Although all results remain unofficial until certified, Zeigler defeated Sharroll Fanslau 381 to 107 to secure the seat.

Her grandfather, Henry Owens, served as mayor in the ‘70s. Her grandmother, Elvie Owens, also served on City Council and her dad Terry McCoy served on the Development Authority of Bryan County.

Zeigler has served on city council for 16 years and was mayor pro tem.

City of Forsyth Mayor Eric Wilson was reelected to a third term, according to 13WMAZ.

Wilson defeated John T. Howard by 365 votes. Howard and Wilson have worked together for years either serving as mayor or on the city’s council.

“I consider him a friend. I just wish the best for him and I appreciate the service he’s given to the citizens of Forsyth,” Wilson said.

Joe Mezzanote won reelection to Flowery Branch City Council Post 2, according to AccessWDUN.

Mezzanotte won on a busy ballot, with three other candidates vying for the seat. The Hall County Elections Office showed Mezzanotte won with about 78% of the vote.

Lula City Council member Garnett Smith retained his District 4 seat, according to AccessWDUN.

Smith secured about 83% of the vote, acquiring 277 votes out of the overall 331 votes cast in the race.

Juliette Talley was elected in Lula City Council District 5, according to AccessWDUN.

Talley beat out two competitors in the race, Joseph Michael Headrick and Debbie Parker-Presley. The Hall County Elections Office showed Talley won with about 81% of the vote.

Elisa Zarate was elected Clerk of Courts for Athens-Clarke County, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Zarate received 5.420 votes compared to 2,989 votes for Andrew Griffeth, the only other person to qualify as a candidate, according to the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections. A total of 8,409 people voted in the only county-wide race on the ballot.

Zarate was already serving as interim clerk of court as she was appointed to fill the position following the retirement of Beverly Logan, who left the office in May. The unexpired term ends on Dec. 31, 2024.

An election for a full term will be held in November 2024.

Grovetown Mayor Gary Jones was reelected with less than 50% of the vote, according to WRDW.

Running for his third term, he got 42% of the votes, vs. 36% for challenger Ceretta Smith and 22% for challenger Deborah Fisher. Both challengers are two former councilwomen.

Unlike many places where you need 50% plus one vote to be declared the winner, the Grovetown mayoral winner only needs a plurality, according to election officials, so Jones kept his post.

Also up for election Tuesday was a Grovetown City Council seat. As of 9:05 p.m., the top two vote-getters were Richard Bowman with 834 votes and Eric Blair with 833 votes.

With provisional votes potentially left to be counted, the election could tip in either direction.

Shenee Holloway won an open seat on Duluth City Council, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Holloway defeated Augustine Emmanuel by a margin of 734 votes to 355 votes in the Post 5 race. She will replace Councilman Greg Whitlock, who opted to run unopposed for the mayor’s seat this year rather than seek re-election to his council seat.

Whitlock will replace retiring Mayor Nancy Harris at the end of the year.

Post 4 City Councilman Manfred Graeder was also unopposed as he ran for another term in his seat.

Gene Ussery Jr. was reelected to Grayson City Council, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at the work records of candidates for Richmond County Sheriff.

A year away from the election for Richmond County Sheriff, three candidates have announced their campaigns, challenging incumbent Sheriff Richard Roundtree.

Eugene A. “Gino Rock” Brantley filed to run for sheriff in September, according to previous reporting. Clarence Lucious “Bo” Johnson IV and Richard Wayne Dixon followed, filing their paperwork in the first week of October.

Here’s what we know about the record’s each candidate, according to Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records.

Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones (R-Jackson) announced a “Red-tape Rollback” effort for the next full Session of the General Assembly, according to the Albany Herald.

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones announced the “Red Tape Rollback” would be his 2024 legislative priority.

“Georgia has built the nation’s best business environment, and we want to keep it that way,” Jones said. “A regulatory environment promoting competition, while encouraging the startup and expansion of new businesses, and taking the heavy hand of government out of the equation is a priority. The reforms the Senate will lead this year will reduce costs and paperwork while minimizing uncertainty for those who want to start or grow a business in Georgia.”

“The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is proud to stand today in support of Lt. Gov. Burt Jones’ efforts to ease many of the regulatory burdens facing businesses in our state through the ‘Red Tape Rollback’ initiative,” Chris Clark, president/CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, said. “As Georgia has just been named the best state in which to do business for the 10th consecutive year, our statewide business community relies on thought leaders like Lt. Gov. Jones to ensure we expand Georgia’s global competitiveness to attract new investment and create opportunity.”

FLOTUS Jill Biden visits Augusta today, according to WRDW.

First lady Dr. Jill Biden is traveling to Augusta today as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America Workforce Hub Tour.

During her visit, Biden is expected to announce some new investments that will bring jobs into the community.

It’s her second visit to Augusta within a few months. She came here in July as part of a tour promoting the workforce hub program, of which Augusta is a part.

U.S. Representative Rich McCormick (R-Duluth) is closing his district office due to threats, according to WSB Radio.

Representative Rich McCormick (R) says he has received “serious threats of violence” against his staff at his office in Cumming.

“I take the safety of my team seriously,” he said in a statement. “We will still be working for you remotely so reach out to my staff if you have any needs.”

Rep. McCormick also did not announce a timeline for when he may reopen the office.

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