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Posted: November 7, 2012 12:52 a.m.

Ellis wins Chairman

Republican Keith Ellis will be the next chairman of Newton County, after defeating Democrat Marcus Jordan by 21,144 votes to 20,402 votes.

"I'm excited and I'm really humbled by the whole thing and I appreciate the voters giving me this. I know it was close and Marcus ran a good race and I appreciate him. We had a gentleman's agreement from the beginning and both of us stuck to it. I think it was a cleanly run race one that the county can be proud of," Ellis said Tuesday night.

"I'm excited about operating the county for the future and I'll call on Marcus if he is available to give us some opinions and help us with some things...We have a good future in Newton County and I'm proud to be the face for Newton County and I'm going to promise the voters that we can to return the respect to the commissioners. We're going to work together, we're going to forget about politics for awhile and focus on the county."

Ellis, 53, graduated from Newton County Comprehensive High School in 1976. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia in agriculture and later a master's degree in education from Georgia as well.

He taught in the Newton County School System as a vocational agriculture teacher for 15 years, including 14 years at Cousins Middle School.

In 1995, he formed Ellis Homes and worked as a builder and developer through most of the county's housing boom. He built mainly custom homes, completing around seven or eight each year until mid-2008. He estimates he built around 100 homes, including a few in Lochwolde, one of Newton County's most upscale communities, and Pastime Lakes, a community in Newborn.

Jordan, a 41-year-old Newton County native, is the county's assistant chief appraiser in the Tax Assessors Office. He has worked with the Newton County Tax Assessor's office for 13 years and in 2003 was appointed to assistant chief tax appraiser, the second highest position in the office. Before that, he worked with the city of Covington for three years as a sanitation worker and meter reader.

Democratic incumbent Kathy Morgan lost in the primary to Jordan. When she was elected to office in 2008, she was the first woman to ever be elected Newton County chairman.

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