McDONOUGH — Several races were decided during Tuesday’s Republican and Democratic primaries in Henry County, but the results of three remain unsettled.
A runoff appears certain between Commission Chairman Elizabeth “B.J.” Mathis and her Republican challenger, former Hampton Mayor Tommy N. Smith. Smith, unofficially, garnered 45.03 percent of the ballots cast, or 9,252 votes, and Mathis received 41.71 percent, or 8,569 votes. A third candidate, Jane Askew Rutledge, had 13.26 percent, or 2,725 votes.
A runoff will held Aug. 21, determine whether Mathis or Smith will face Democrat Carlotta Harrell, in the November general election.
Smith said he was “extremely pleased,” but that he was not surprised. He expressed confidence in his ability to defeat Mathis later this month.
“I think the people of Henry County are focused on the issues,” Smith said. “They’ve indicated that they’re tired of the big spending. We’ve still got plenty of energy. We’re gung-ho and we’re going to move forward.”
Mathis said the runoff brings her “back to square one,” in her campaign.
“This is not uncommon for me. This is the third time I’ve run for office. This is the third runoff I’ve been in. We’ll just regroup and get started. We’ll just have to move at a little quicker pace, because we only have three weeks this time, compared to the several months we had before [Tuesday].”
“There’s a general sense of anti-government now,” said Mathis. “With the T-SPLOST [Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum] being on the ballot, with everything we see going on in Washington, with the recession that seems to continue to drag on and on and on, I think that that has contributed to the large voter turnout,” she said.
County officials are still awaiting the arrival of provisional and military ballots to be included in the election tally, said Elections and Registration Director, Janet Shellnutt. She said less than a handful of provisional ballots remain to be counted. Military ballots are still outstanding, and must be mailed to her office by Friday in order to be included in the vote total. However, if tradition holds, she predicts less than two dozen being sent in.
Each of the District I candidates said they were waiting for a final tally.
Businessman William J. “Bo” Moss appears to have defeated long-time incumbent District I Commissioner, Warren Emory Holder, in the primary. Moss ended the night with a 15-vote lead. He received 1,898 votes, and Holder had 1,883 votes.
The winner will face attorney James C. Mays, a Democrat, in November.
District III Commissioner Randy Stamey did not seek re-election this year. The District III Commission race will see a runoff between the top two Republican vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary, Gary W. Barham and William L. “Bill” Toney, Jr. The winner will face former McDonough City Councilwoman, Sandra Vincent, a Democrat.
The remaining GOP candidate in District III was semi-retired businessman, Kenneth David Sherman.
District II Commissioner John Brian Preston defeated attorney Vincent A. Lotti. He will face businesswoman Jacqueline “Jackie” Anderson-Woods, a Democrat, in the November general election.