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Marcello Banes claims BOC chair
Davis, Dingler retain their seats
Marcello Banes and supporters celebrate the win Tuesday night at The Lindsey Firm.

According to unofficial results released by the Georgia Secretary of State’s (SOS) office Tuesday, Democrat Marcello Banes claimed the Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) Chairman position with 50.24 percent of the vote making him the first African American to hold the position in Newton County.

With just 201 more votes, Banes beat out Republican Candidate Aaron Varner. Certified election results were not available as of press time.

“It feels great to win,” Banes said. “First I want to give thanks to my Lord and Savior. I want to thank Team Banes for being there. We want to thank the citizens of Newton County for choosing Marcello Banes to be their next chairman of the board of commissioners.”

While Varner was able to pull the majority vote at 14 of the 24 Newton County precincts, including the Downs precinct which had the largest voter turnout of the day, Banes was able to fill the gap with more votes at the busy Almon, Gum Creek, Buck Creek and Crowell precincts.

Banes is a Newton County businessman and served on the citizen-formed government committee in 2015. Varner previously held the chairman position from 2001 to 2008.

More than 76 percent of registered voters made their way out to the local polls. A total of 44,341 ballots were cast in Newton County.  This is more than the 43,435 votes cast in the 2012 General Election.

Newton County’s votes had not been certified as of Friday. Provisional ballots were not included in the totals provided by the SOS data.

Incumbent holds coroner position

Incumbent Candidate Tommy Davis holds his position as Newton County Coroner.

Davis beat out Democratic Candidate Dorthea Bailey-Butts by 2,804 votes for his third straight term as coroner. Bailey-Butts is a registered nurse and was running for coroner for the first time.

“I’d like to thank the citizens of Newton County for allowing me to continue to serve them as their coroner,” Davis said. “I look forward to serving them for the next four years with the same compassion and dignity that I have for the last eight.”

Davis owns Harwell-Wheeler Funeral Home.

Dingler keeps tax commissioner seat

Barbara Dingler, incumbent, claims the Newton County Tax Commissioner seat with 53.58 percent of the vote. She beat out Democratic Candidate Casey Duren.

Dinger became the tax commissioner in 1999. She has more than 30 years of experience in the tax commissioner’s office.

“Thank you to all the citizens who voted for me and I will continue to give you the best service,” Dingler said Tuesday night.

Duren is the owner and operator of Rapid Tax Service in Newton County. He has previously worked with the Georgia Department of Labor.

Senator rematch flips results

Democratic Candidate Tonya Anderson overtook Incumbent Janice Van Ness in the District 43 State Senator election. Anderson was able to claim 70.42 percent of the vote, in the second time the candidates have faced off.

Van Ness was able to overthrow Anderson in a special election in December, but unable to hold the title for another full term. Van Ness is a former Rockdale County commissioner and is the owner of Peachtree Academy, which has a location in Newton County.

Anderson is a U.S. Air Force veteran, pastor and former state representative for District 92. She has also previously served as the mayor of Lithonia.

The Republican Incumbent Tim Echols held his position as a Georgia Public Service Commissioner with 62.19 percent of the vote.

Echols was first elected in 2010 for a six year term. He will now start his second six year term in 2017.

Newton County chooses Clinton, Trump takes overall

With 50.10 percent of the vote locally, Newton County voters selected Hillary Clinton to win the United States Presidential Race, but the majority of the state (51.11 percent) voted for the Republican Candidate Donald Trump, allotting Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to the red column.

Newton’s neighbors to the east, Rockdale and Henry, also named Clinton as the majority, but to the west, Morgan and Walton, went with Trump.

With 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Trump tallied a total of 290, while Clinton was only able to claim 228.