Augusta, GA (WJBF) – We are now winding down from a busy Election Day in the CSRA.
We have a cast of thousands…well, not really thousands, but several people…working hard to bring you the results of the Tuesday voting.
Our Deon Guillory reports from Columbia County, Margaret-Ann Carter from Aiken, Renetta Dubose is just back from Grovetown, and George Eskola reports from downtown Augusta.
We start in Augusta, where the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) 7 package has passed by nearly 2/3 of the votes. George Eskola tells us how city laders are feeling about the passage.
We also received a statement from Mayor Hardie Davis on the passage.
Now, we head over Mike Miller, who is covering the race to replace Ben Harbin in Georgia House of Representatives District 122.
This race has been a nasty race because of all the mudslinging, but Jodi Lott managed to stay out of it. She comes out on top, but will go to a runoff with Mack Taylor.
Lott says she feels she had the most votes because of her clean campaign and her focus on the high cost of healthcare.
In second place, and now heading for a runoff with Lott, Mack Taylor says he doesn’t think his war of words with Joe Mullins hurt his campaign.
Joe Mullins came in third place, but the focus wasn’t on where he placed, but what he wore when he voted. The businessman says he accidentally walked into a polling place with campaign stickers on, which is against state law.
Meanwhile, Pat Goodwin is just celebrating a clean campaign.
Next, we head over to our Margaret-Ann Carter in Aiken, South Carolina. She spent the day there covering the mayoral race between Republican Rick Osbon and Democrat Lessie Price.
After more than 2 decades, the city has chosen a new mayor and Rick Osbon will now occupy the position. He replaces longtime mayor, Fred Cavanaugh, who retired.
Osbon is an Aiken native and business owner. He also served on the Aiken County Council for several years.
He says his mission will be to create more jobs in Aiken and make it a place where younger people will want to move to.
Osbon’s opponent, Democrat Lessie Price consistently stated her priorities during the campaign.
She agreed with Osbon that Aiken needs to grow and it needs to appeal to the younger generation.
Both candidates said, during their campaigns, that fixing Aiken’s infrastructure and bringing jobs to the area is a priority for the All-America City.
Now back across the Savannah River to our Renetta DuBose, who spent the day covering the mayoral race in Grovetown, Georgia.
For the first time since 2007, the mayor will not be George James, who was running for a third term.
James was beaten handily by the former chief of the Grovetown Department of Public Safety, Gary Jones.
Renetta spoke to Jones, who says he is eager to get to work as mayor.
Jones set out to run for mayor in order to focus on some of the public safety improvements he implemented in the past. He also wants to start doing town hall meetings and create a Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Board immediately.
First on his agenda are two important items. “Probably traffic issues and having a forensic audit of all city finances,” he said, adding, “Our plan was really focused on our growth and was really able to take hold of that and plan for our future.”
James said he will stick around to help Jones with the transition, and he’s got other jobs, too, in his retirement…such as working as a minister. He says he is still waiting on the next big thing.
In the Columbia County District 3 race, which was left open because Mack Taylor resigned to run for that Georgia House of Representatives District 122 seat, we’re going to have a runoff between Gary Richardson, who got 38 percent of the vote and either Greg Grzybowski or Frank Spears. Only 19 votes separate Grzybowski and Spears, but the early returns show that Grzybowski has the edge.
Our Deon spent Tuesday following the race, and he asked Gary Richardson how he felt to be heading to a runoff. “I’m very excited. We’ve worked hard and you know, we didn’t get quite the reward that we were hoping for, but we anticipated it being a runoff with five people,” he answered. “With your experience, you were on the Planning Commission, what is your plan, if you were elected to the Commission?” we asked. “My plan is to continue to serve the citizens of District 3 in Columbia County the way I did on the Planning Commission and I think they expect that of me and I will give them the service that they expect, he added.”
“Great victory tonight, moving forward in a runoff,” we told Richardson. “Not a victory,” he said. “Well, moving forward, though. You’re not out of the race and everything. What’s the plan in the morning?” we asked. “To go to work. We’ve got a lot to do. We’ve been working everyday. We greet people in the morning with signs and waving, wishing them a good morning and we knock on doors in the afternoon and we will continue the same strategy that we’ve had in the past. No giving up here. No giving up,” he concluded.
In Thomson, voters there bucked the trend and stood pat. Kenneth Usry will remain mayor, winning another term against chairman of the McDuffie County Board of Tax Assessors, John Sisson.
In news out of Allendale County, Dorothy Riley won the Fairfax, South Carolina mayoral race.
Some of the races are still undecided. We are awaiting results in some of our outlying CSRA counties. We will continue to work to get those results.
We have also just learned that the runoff for any of the races headed in that direction will be held on Tuesday, December 1st.
In Allendale County, Dorothy Riley won the Fairfax mayoral race. She received 336 votes. Dwight Causey, Jr. received 195 votes, and Michael Smalls received 23 votes.
Also in Allendale County, Pam Love won the seat on the Fairfax Town Council, over 4 other candidates, with 341 votes. Robert Lee Thompson, Sr. received 326 votes, Tracy Washington Witherspoon received 252 votes, Bobby Thomas received 218 votes, and Patricial Highsmith received 117 votes.