Jail bond referendum fails to pass; runoff Dec. 3 for commissioner seat
Less than 4,000 voters, approximately 3,864, out of the 26,374 active registered voters in Habersham County cast ballots in the general/special election Tuesday.
The following are unofficial and incomplete results based on absentee/early/advance votes, and from all precincts, cast by Habersham Countians only in the Tuesday, Nov. 5, general/special election.
Candidates for the Alto Town Council, Baldwin City Council, Mt. Airy Town Council and Clarkesville City Council were not on the Nov. 5 ballot since they didn’t see opposition.
Results were released at Election Day’s end by the Habersham County Elections and Registration Office. Official and complete results were unavailable by The Northeast Georgian’s press deadline Thursday.
Habersham County Election Supervisor/Chief Registrar Laurel L. Ellison said official and complete election results will be available after a 4 p.m. certification meeting Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Habersham County Special Election (runoff)
Habersham County ballots included local races for the Habersham County Commission (district five).
George Locke Arnold, Michael D. Gosnell, Darrin Johnston, Tim Stamey and Barry Trotter are the five candidates for commissioner who appeared on the ballot Election Day Nov. 5 after Ed Nichols resigned in September with about a year left on his term.
Approximately 3,662 votes were cast regarding the district five commissioner seat.
Of the total votes, Arnold received approximately 13.68% (501 voters), Gosnell received approximately 14.94% (547 voters), Johnston received approximately 28.78% (1,054 voters), Stamey received approximately 23.92% (876 voters) and Trotter received approximately 18.05% (661 voters). There were 23 write-in votes, or .63%.
Georgia Law states that if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote getters advance to a runoff election. In Habersham County, the runoff election between Johnston and Stamey will be Dec. 3.
Both Johnston and Stamey told The Northeast Georgian they were not surprised by the need for a runoff election, considering the number of candidates who ran for the seat.
“I am humbled and honored to have so many from our community show their faith in me for this race,” Johnston said. “When elected, I promise to do all in my power to serve this community with honor, dignity and respect for everyone. I am extremely happy to be in this position and I’m looking forward to continuing my efforts over the next month.”
Stamey said he’s humbled and thankful for everyone that voted. From now until Dec. 3, he will be asking supporters, yet again, to encourage others to vote.
“I will be out talking to as many people as possible to hear their hopes and dreams for Habersham and ask for their vote,” Stamey said. “I would also appreciate the votes from supporters of the three like-minded gentlemen who are no longer in the race. Together we can win.”
City of Clarkesville and Cornelia special elections
Clarkesville and Cornelia asked city voters whether they supported Sunday brunch sales of distilled spirits and alcoholic beverages by the drink from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Of approximately 215 votes cast in Clarkesville, 69.30% (149 voters) said “YES,” with the remaining 30.70% (66 voters) voting “NO.”
In Cornelia, of the 292 votes cast, 70.89% (207 voters) said “YES,” with the remaining 29.11% (85 voters) voting “NO.”
Cornelia Community Development Manager Jessie Owensby and Clarkesville Main Street Director Trudy Crunkleton told The Northeast Georgian Sunday brunch sales are a good thing for the cities’ restaurants.
“This allows folks who want to have a mimosa or Bloody Mary at brunch [to] do so,” Ownesby said. “Other communities surrounding us have already done this, so Habersham County is actually behind. Having other communities in our area with this allowance takes away from our local economy. Now that we have passed it in Cornelia and Clarkesville, we can bring that business back home.”
Crunkleton said the bill will provide more room for creativity and options on Sunday menus. Additionally, Owensby said the bill will allow for new concepts and new special events to be hosted in downtown.
“Cornelia prides itself on being business-friendly,” Owensby said. “If this is what our community wants, then I think it’s great.”
Crunkleton said the bill will hopefully allow the businesses to capitalize on what is typically limited hours.
“Currently, the bill will affect almost half the restaurants in the city and we want to support anything that helps our local businesses,” she said.
City of Cornelia Mayor
In the race for mayor of Cornelia, John Borrow received approximately 98.88% (265 voters) of the 268 total votes. There were three write-in votes, or 1.12%.
“I’m excited for the future and grateful to the citizens of Cornelia for their vote of confidence,” Borrow told The Northeast Georgian. “I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
He said his three goals as mayor are to: (1) Continue to improve upon infrastructure with short- and long-term goals in order to set Cornelia up for success, especially with roads and water for at least the next 50 years; (2) Work with existing and new businesses to help them succeed; and (3) Help manage the city’s future through thoughtful and deliberate growth strategies.
City of Cornelia Commissioner Ward One
Of approximately 186 votes cast for Cornelia City Commission Ward One, incumbent Wesley “Wes” Dodd Jr. received 55.91% (104 voters) of the total votes. He went up against Mark Reed, who received approximately 44.09% (82 voters) of the total votes.
On Thursday, he told The Northeast Georgian he appreciates the support of those in the ward who voted for him. He said he has served on the commission for approximately 14 years and will continue to work hard to better Cornelia.
“I care greatly for the town I call and have called home for practically my entire life,” Dodd said. “I am passionate about preparing our city for future growth.”
Dodd said his top three goals as commissioner are securing a reliable source of water for future generations, zoning for future growth and providing “superior” services to Cornelia citizens.
City of Cornelia Commissioner Ward Four
Of approximately 41 votes cast for Cornelia City Commission Ward Four, incumbent Tony Cook received 100% of the total votes. He didn’t see opposition. However, he said he is proud to have been reelected after about 18 years of service on the commission.
“I was unopposed, but it is still a great feeling to be able to serve again,” Cook said. “My goals are to just help Cornelia to continue to grow, because the city as a whole, we’ve had some major goals we’re accomplishing right now. I’m proud to be able to serve ward four and I’m proud of the support I get from ward four and the city of Cornelia as a whole.”
City of Demorest council members
The city of Demorest has elected its two new council members, John P. Hendrix and Nathan Wile Davis, who will assume the seats of Florence Wikle and John Popham.
Of approximately 322 total votes, Hendrix led with 44.41% (143 voters) and Davis earned 40.68% (131 voters). Jerry Mobley, the third candidate, received 14.91% (48 voters).
“I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming support and confidence that the Demorest citizens have vested in me and their willingness to discuss what really matters to them during my campaign,” Hendrix told The Northeast Georgian.
Hendrix said he encourages continuous involvement from his fellow residents to ensure an effective term in office.
“Like many municipalities in the country, the city of Demorest also faces constant financial, infrastructure and regulatory challenges, but we can overcome these challenges if we rise above politics to do what is best for the city,” he said. “I intend to listen to the constituents, translate their concerns into workable solutions and building consensus to implement them. I look forward to positive changes that will make Demorest a place that all of us can count on the future and a place where people of all ages can call home.”
Davis said he was honored and thankful for his friends and family that encouraged him to run for the Demorest City Council, adding he welcomes concerns regarding city policy and procedures to be emailed to him at email@example.com.
“It has been humbling to have the overwhelming support shown to me during the campaign,” Davis said. “I will strive to uphold and enact the wishes of the citizens who have placed their faith in my ability to help govern the city.”
He said he has a lot to learn and much work to be done in the city regarding the various issues brought to light in the campaign. His wish, however, is to uphold the citizens’ values and desires regarding the city’s future growth and its fiscal operations.
Tallulah Falls Mayor and town council
The Tallulah Falls Town Council election, which included races for the mayor and one council member, was handled by the Rabun County Elections and Voter Registration Office.
As reported by The Clayton Tribune, sister paper of The Northeast Georgian, the town of Tallulah Falls elected a new mayor, Mike Early, with 62 votes. Incumbent Teri Dobbs received 31 votes.
“I’m humbled that we had such a large margin, that so many people are willing to put their trust in me for the needs of our town.” Early told The Clayton Tribune. “I look forward to start working on rebuilding the community and town to what it once was.”
Dobbs congratulated Early.
“The democratic process has spoken and it was my honor to represent the citizens of Tallulah Falls,” she said.
For the two council member seats, Joey Fountain received 48 votes and Craig Weatherly received 66 votes. Now former council member Mary Beth Hughes dropped out of the race earlier and didn’t seek reelection.