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Campaign contemplations
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-For the winners of Tuesday's primary voting who have several more months of campaigning ahead of them, things are rosy. But for those that didn't make the cut, the outlook is somber as they consider what might have been.

Some candidates blamed low voter turnout and the built in advantage of incumbency for their poor showing at the polls, others say it was negative campaigning and questionable campaign practices that resulted in their election losses.

In Newton County, four intra-party challenges failed to oust the Republican incumbents. County Chairman Aaron Varner, District 1 Commissioner Mort Ewing, Tax Commissioner Barbara Dingler and State Senator John Douglas all handily defeated their challengers.

Ed Hutter, who came in third place in Republican voting for chairman after Susette Monk, collecting 21 percent of votes cast, said he was "shocked" with the voting results.

"I really thought that Aaron [Varner] and I would go into a runoff, but it certainly didn't turn out that way," Hutter said.

Though many in the county predicted a Republican runoff for chairman with three well-funded and connected candidates all seeking the nomination, Varner, pulled off an upset by winning 54 percent of the vote.

Hutter said he believed low voter turnout (only 21 percent of registered voters voted) contributed to his faring on Tuesday.

"I think the voters that came out, basically spoke and that's where we're at," Hutter said. "I think the campaign was a good campaign and I think we stayed on the positive side, which is what I wanted to do the whole time."

Though he says he doesn't think he will run again, Hutter said he had an enjoyable time campaigning.

"I enjoyed it. I met a lot of new people, made a lot of new friends. For me it was very positive," Hutter said. "I'm just sorry that I can't serve the county as I wish I could have. I really felt that I could have done a lot to help out."

While Doris Strickland began her campaign for tax commissioner more than a year before any voting took place, her efforts were not enough to defeat Dingler, who captured nearly 75 percent of the vote.

"I think I ran a very honest campaign. I hope that people know what my integrity is," Strickland said, adding that she doesn't have any current plans to run for tax commissioner again. "If someone pursues me again to run, then I might do it."

Though she estimates that she put up at least 600 election signs around the county, when she returned to pick them up after Tuesday, Strickland said there weren't even enough signs left standing for her to fill up her van.

Strickland said she was very disappointed with the low voter turnout.

"If they're not going to get concerned about what's going on in the county, regardless of who they vote for, I don't think they should complain about anything," Strickland said of those eligible residents who didn't vote.

George Wilson, who lost the race for the Democratic nomination for State House District 95 to Toney Collins, despite the fact that he began running nearly a year ago, was blunt with his thoughts on the outcome.

"Basically the vote broke down along race lines," said Wilson, who is white, of Collins, who is black. "His campaign strategy was basically to put his face on campaign posters and put 500 of them out. I think I beat him on the issues. It just came down to race and low voter turnout."

Collins won 67 percent of the vote in a landslide.

But Wilson is not out of politics yet. Despite the most recent setback, Wilson, who ran unsuccessfully for District 95 in 2006 as well, said there is always reapportionment in 2010 to think about, which will likely change the boundaries and demographics of the district.

"I'm going to take a look at it again, absolutely," Wilson said of another campaign run.