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With most votes in, incumbents win, T-SPLOST falls
by Everett Catts
ecatts@neighbornewspapers.com
July 31, 2012 10:12 PM | 8567 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Nathan Self<br>
Volunteer Joe Ferrell of Johns Creek checks the ID of voter Chet Touton of Roswell before he cast his ballot at the North Fulton Annex.
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(UPDATED AT 4:22 P.M. FRIDAY WITH FINAL UNOFFICIAL FULTON COUNTY RESULTS)

With nearly all the statewide votes and all Fulton County ballots tallied, several incumbents were re-elected and the T-SPLOST failed in metro Atlanta during Tuesday’s primary election.

With all 348 Fulton County precincts and 98.7 percent of statewide polls reporting, 62.4 percent voted against the Atlanta regional T-SPLOST, with 37.6 percent for it.

Also, incumbent Congressmen John Lewis (District 5) and Phil Gingrey (District 11) each got convincing victories. Their districts each include part of Buckhead and Gingrey’s includes Vinings and part of Sandy Springs.

Lewis, D-Atlanta, had 80.8 percent of the districtwide vote against challenger Michael Johnson, who had 19.2 percent. Gingrey, R-Marietta, garnered 80.9 percent districtwide against Michael Opitz (9.9 percent) and William Llop (9.2 percent). The District 5 winner will face Republican Howard Stopeck in November.

In the only other local contested Congressional race, between two Democrats in District 6, Jeff Kazanow defeated Robert Montigel with 51.1 percent of the districtwide vote. The winner faces incumbent Tom Price, R-Roswell, in November. The district includes part of Sandy Springs.

In the state Senate, Hunter Hill won outright the three-person District 6 Republican battle, where many expected a runoff. Hill, who had 52.6 percent of the districtwide vote, defeated Josh Belinfante (28.7 percent) and Drew Ellenburg (18.7 percent). The winner faces incumbent Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna. The district includes Vinings and parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs.

In District 38, the only other contested local state Senate election, incumbent Horacena Tate, D-Atlanta, has 77.1 percent of the vote against Reginald Crossley, who has 22.9 percent.

In the Georgia House of Representatives, there were only three contested races.

In District 53, which includes part of former District 44, incumbent Sheila Jones, D-Atlanta, won with 64.7 percent against challengers Jason Esteves (29.6 percent) and Robert Patillo (5.7 percent). The district includes Vinings and part of Buckhead.

In District 56, which includes part of Buckhead, former state Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas, D-Atlanta, won with 64.8 percent against Kenneth Britt (35.2), despite the fact that Britt was endorsed by incumbent Kathy Ashe, D-Atlanta, who is retiring.

District 57’s race between two Democratic incumbents whose districts were merged has Pat Gardner ahead with 62.6 percent against Rashad Taylor (37.4 percent).

In Fulton County’s largest contested race, Democratic incumbent Sheriff Ted Jackson held off four challengers to barely avoid a runoff. Jackson had 50.07 percent against Richard Lankford (32.4 percent), Frank L. Brown (9.3 percent), Charles Shelton (4.8 percent) and Curtis S. Farmer (3.5 percent).

“I appreciate the voters, if this works out this way, that [they] understand the issues and will allow me to continue with the programs we’re doing so we can continue to move forward,” Jackson said of the chance to win the primary outright. “I feel like we are making progress. We’ve moved this office forward with dignity, pride, prestige, honesty, professionalism and integrity.

“I’m pleased about that but I’m disappointed maybe I didn’t get my message out to the entire county fully, and it’s something I’m going to have to work on. My message would be the initiatives and the performance of the sheriff’s office in the last three and a half years.”

In the other major Fulton contested election, incumbent Democrat Arthur Ferdinand won with 70.5 percent against challengers John Jamont (14.8 percent) and R.J. Morris (14.7 percent).

“I feel very honored that the citizens of Fulton County have confidence in what I do and are pleased with what I do. I will continue to do it,” said Ferdinand, who has been in office since 1997. “My job is to make sure the county, the school board and the cities have enough revenue to operate, I think I do that very well and I was rewarded by the citizens.

“I would just like to than the citizens of Fulton County for the confidence they’ve placed in me in the past and for re-electing me and I look forward to serving them in the future.”

Democrat Cathelene Robinson captured the Clerk of Fulton County Superior Court race with a commanding 70.7 percent of the vote against Lewis Pittman (14.3 percent), Rodney Fowler (8.6 percent) and B.C. Chisholm (6.4 percent).

There were only two contested judicial elections, which are nonpartisan. Incumbent Todd Markle won the Fulton County Superior Court judge battle against Clarence Johnson Jr. with 54.1 percent of the vote. In the Fulton County State Court judge race, Jane Morrison defeated Melynee Leftridge with 60.9 percent.

In other contested races, the Public Service Commission’s two incumbents up for re-election, both Republicans, each won their primaries. District 3 representative Chuck Eaton had 60.0 percent of the vote against Matt Reid (40.0 percent). Eaton will face Democrat Stephen Oppenheimer in November. District 5 representative Stan Wise won with 56.6 percent versus Pam Davidson (46.4 percent).

All other candidates were unopposed.

All results are unofficial until certified by elections officials. Fulton County Registration and Elections Director Sam Westmoreland was not available for an interview but did release a statement Wednesday via email through county elections spokesperson Alicia Phillips.

“At this point, everyone should remain mindful that any results made public are unofficial and incomplete,” he said. “Additional results are being tabulated and will be made public as soon as possible. Provisional ballots and overseas ballots will also be included in the results, as required by law, on Friday. It will not be until Saturday, at the earliest, that the Board of Registration and Elections will convene and declare the results official and complete. Races with narrow margins may be too early and too close to ‘call.’”
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