Statewide, uncontested local races, party questions fill out ballot
Aside from the six contested countywide races in Tuesday’s election, Bryan County voters also faced a host of other choices, whether they chose to vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries.
On the Republican side, running unopposed were:
• Rebecca Crowe — Superior Court Clerk
• Carrol Ann Coleman — Tax Commissioner
• Bill Cox — Coroner
• Noah Covington — Commissioner District 1
• Steve Myers — Commissioner District 2
• Amy Murphy — Board of Education District 3
• Ray Smith — State Court Judge
• Buddy Carter — U.S. Representative, 1st Congressional District
• Ron Stephens — State Representative, District 164
• Jesse Petrea — State Representative, Disrict 166
• Ben Watson — State Senator, District 1
State Rep. Jan Tankersley was unopposed in the Republican primary, but will face Democrat James Woodall in November in Georgia House District 160.
In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Johnny Isakson’s numbers in Bryan County mirrored his statewide primary win with 77 percent of the vote. Challengers Mary Kay Bacallao and Derrick Grayson each netted about 11 percent of the vote. Isakson will face Democrat Jim Barksdale in November. Barksdale, who won Bryan County with slightly more than 51 percent of the vote, also avoided a runoff statewide.
All four questions on the Democratic ballot — dealing with spending on health care for low-income Georgia residents, paid family leave, water quality and motor-voter registration, passed with 85 percent or higher.
The lone question on the Republican ballot — essentially asking about support for school vouchers — saw 73 percent of voters choose yes in Bryan County.
Just seven votes separate second and third places — Andrew Johnson and Chet Gregg — in the primary results for Bryan County Solicitor General. The margin is just 0.21 percent out of more than 3,400 votes cast.
According to the “unofficial and incomplete” results released Tuesday night by Elections Supervisor Cindy Reynolds, Don Montgomery finished first in the three-way race with 1,191 votes, or 35 percent.
Reynolds said the final results still need to be certified and military absentee ballots can arrive by mail up until Friday and still be counted. Reynolds said it is unlikely there will be enough such ballots to have any impact on the other races.
“I’m not sure at this point,” Gregg said Tuesday night of requesting a recount. “I’ll have to think about it.”
Initial reports had Johnson in third place with 1,059 votes and Gregg in second with 1,089 before absentee ballots were added in, at which point Johnson left a gathering hosted by the Bryan County Republican Party thinking he had lost. He was unavailable for comment late Tuesday night.
“I want to thank the voters for their support and for realizing that experience matters,” Montgomery said. “We’ll probably take a couple days off to recharge and then get right back at it.”
Montgomery will face the second-place finisher in a July 26 runoff.
The runoff date is listed on the Secretary of State’s election calendar, which is posted on its website.
Also headed for a runoff are Karen Krupp and Audrey Singleton in the race for school board vice chair. Krupp finished first in the three-way primary with 1,371 votes, or 39.6 percent. Singleton was second with 1,228 votes, or 35.47 percent. Drew Humphreys finished third with 863 votes, just a shade below 25 percent.
“This has been a great experience, and we’ll just keep plugging along,” Krupp said. “I guessed this would go to a runoff, but I had no idea how close it would be.”
Singleton said she will continue to reach out to those who supported her as well as try to gain new voters.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to continue supporting the Board of Education, parents and businesses,” she said. “I also want to reach out to our educators who might not know me because so many of them are new to the area.”
Former county Commissioner Carter Infinger defeated Tim Gaylor for the commissioners chairman seat with almost 61 percent of the vote, garnering 2,159 votes to 1,391 for Gaylor. Infinger, elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2010 and 2014 from District 4, had to resign that post in March because of a state law that prohibits someone from seeking elected office while holding a different elected office.
“I’m relieved,” Infinger said. “It was a lot of hard work. I appreciate all of the support, and I’m looking forward to continuing to keep the county moving forward.”
Sheriff Clyde Smith was elected to his sixth full term, defeating challenger Cleve White 2,169 votes to 1,526, or 59 percent to 41 percent.
“I’m thankful the voters keep sending me back, and I promise to do the best job I can and not let anybody down,” Smith said.
Richmond Hill police Chief Billy Reynolds defeated Jennifer Cox 1,970 votes to 1,634, or 55 percent to 45 percent, for probate judge.
“It was a matter of getting people out to vote,” Reynolds said. “I worked hard at it, and I know Jennifer did, too. I was hoping for a bigger turnout.”
Reynolds said he will retire from the city at the end of the year, but will assist City Council over the next six months as it searches for his replacement.
Dennis Seger won a third term on the school board representing District 2, defeating Pauline Phifer 425 votes to 117, or 78 percent to 22 percent.
Seger approached Phifer after early voting tallies showed him leading 76-30 and told her he wanted her to stay involved and attend meetings to give her input.
“I have nothing bad to say about her,” Seger said. “She’s a nice lady, and she even called me earlier in the year to tell me she was going to run.”
Seger said they ate dinner together during a candidate forum in Pembroke last month, and he is hoping she remains involved.
“I want to thank the voters for having confidence in me,” Seger added. “Like I said last time, my only promise is that I’ll always be available, and if someone has a question I will get them the answer. It might not be the answer they want, but I will get it for them.”
Just 22 percent of Bryan County’s 18,266 registered voters cast ballots in the primary.