DAHLONEGA Ga. – Lumpkin County voters went to the polls Tuesday and gave Republican Clarence Grindle the win by a razor-thin margin in the race for the open District 4 seat on the Board of Commissioners. However, there won’t be much time to celebrate as his victory over runner-up Jeff Moran was not enough to avoid a July runoff election.
Grindle received 1005 votes or 40.23 percent to Moran’s 956. Mark Zeller finished third with 537 votes. Now the challenge for both candidates will be to get their voters back to the polls for the runoff and an all-out effort to woo Zeller’s voters.
The winner of that race will still have some work to do before November when he will face Democrat Teresa B. Gay in the general election. Gay defeated Dennis Hoover 437 votes to 139.
Several candidates were unopposed. State Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) did not have a primary challenger nor did District 3 County Commissioner Rhett Stringer or School Board members Lynn Sylvester and Craig Poore.
In the up ballot, statewide elections that drew most of the voters to the polls, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will face a runoff. In a five-candidate field, Cagle won by a slight margin over Kemp by receiving 39 percent of the votes (227,170 total votes) to Kemp’s 26 percent or 150,051 total votes.
The winner of that race will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the November General election. Abrams easily defeated her rival Stacey Evans, winning 76 percent of the vote statewide.
There will also be a runoff in the Lieutenant Governor’s race where David Shafer fell just shy of a clear win. Shafer pulled in a majority of the votes, 256,230, but it was not enough to avoid a runoff with Geoff Duncan in July. Duncan received 27 percent of the votes (140,741).
The winner of that runoff will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in November. Amico pulled in 56 percent of the votes (245,325) defeating opponent Triana James who received 44 percent.
Campaigns have not ended for Brad Raffensperger or David Belle Isle as they will also face off in a November runoff for secretary of state. Raffensperger received 35 percent of the votes (178,502), moving him into top position. Belle Isle received 29 percent or 145,915 total votes.
Democrat John Barrow will face the winner of that runoff in November. Barrow was able to make a clean win with 52 percent over challengers Dee Dawkins-Haigler and Rakeim Hadley.
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DAHLONEGA, Ga. — UPDATE: Mark Zeller was the only candidate to add his name to the list of qualifiers for the May 22 General Primary Thursday.
Zeller will campaign for Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners in District 4.
Incumbent District 3 Commissioner Rhett Stringer qualified late Tuesday afternoon and four more candidates tossed their hats into the ring in Wednesday qualifying.
Dennis Hoover (D) and Jeff Moran (R) qualified to run in the District 4 Board of Commissioners race. Also, incumbent Board of Education Chairman Bobby Self (R) qualified along with Craig Poore (R), the incumbent Board of Education member in District 2.
There is also an important race for Georgia House of Representatives District 9 where incumbent Kevin Tanner (R), of Dawsonville, and Mark Hajduk (R), of Cumming, have qualified.
Other county commission candidates who qualified earlier in the week include Peri Lynn Gordon (D) in District 3 and Teresa Gay (D) in District 4. Incumbent Lynn Sylvester (R) qualified to run in the District 4 Board of Education race.
The May General Primary will be held May 22, 2018, with a voter registration deadline of April 23.
Qualifying will continue through this week, ending March 9 at noon. All persons wishing to participate as a candidate in the 2018 election will need to qualify by this time.