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Mathis, Smith headed to runoff race
by Nneka M. Okona
August 07, 2012 02:45 PM | 1190 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The general primary elections July 31 in Henry County went seamlessly without a hitch.

However, the County Commission Chairman race is far from over.

Elizabeth “B.J.” Mathis and former mayor of Hampton Tommy Smith will duel off in a runoff election Aug. 21.

This outcome for the race was not a surprise to either Mathis or Smith.

Smith said he accounted for a run-off in his campaigning.

“We had planned it in our strategy,” said Smith. “I would have liked for it not have been one.”

For Mathis, this occurrence was not anything new compared to what she has faced in previous elections.

“I have been in a run-off in my previous two elections,” she said. “My thoughts were to get some rest after being out in the heat all day and then get back to work.”

The amount of deviance between the two candidates was narrow, with Smith earning 45.03 percent of the votes at 9,252, while Mathis’ 41.71 percent, and 8,569 votes, trailed closely behind.

Both Mathis and Smith have identified what they will continue to push to the residents to secure the chairman seat.

Mathis said she will emphasize her track record of success having “reduced the county budget from $132 million dollars to $115 million in just four years.”

Smith plans to get aggressively back on the playing field.

“Right now, we are still full of energy,” he said. “I think the votes are there. It’s just a matter of getting [the residents] back out to vote a second time.”

Elections Director Janet Shellnutt said she does not think voter turnout will surpass moderate levels.

“Lots of times it boils down to either 4,000 or 5,000,” she said. “I look toward 3,000 or 4,000 for this race.”

All 38 precincts will be opening for voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m Aug. 21.


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