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Anderson Bailey wins Newton County School Board seat
Activist Dorothy Piedrahita earns Democratic nod for county commission seat
Oxford voting in runoff
A voter makes her selections in the Aug. 11 runoff election at the Oxford City Hall voting location. - photo by Tom Spigolon
COVINGTON, Ga. — Anderson Bailey won the de facto election for the Newton County School Board’s District 4 seat Tuesday, Aug. 11, and will take a position left vacant since late 2019.

And Democratic voters in northeastern and central Newton County chose DorothyPiedrahita to be the party's nominee for a Newton County Board of Commissioners seat in November.

Bailey received 59% of the vote to defeat Jeffrey Johnson, who received 41% of the vote.

He earned 725 votes and Johnson 505 votes, according to unofficial totals from the Newton County Elections and Registration office.

The Covington city employee will replace the late Almond Turner who died in November 2019. He will be unopposed in the Nov. 3 general election after no Republican qualified.

Bailey has been employed by the city for 14 years as a meter reader. He is retired from the military and also has been a GHSA multicounty basketball official for more than 25 years. 

Johnson and Bailey qualified for Tuesday's runoff election after being the top two finishers in a three-person Democratic Primary race June 9 that also included Michael Syphoe.

Any candidate must have received at least 50% plus one vote to avoid a runoff.

District 4 stretches from Alcovy Road near I-20 in the north to South Salem Elementary School in the south and includes north central Covington and much of the city of Oxford.

Piedrahita received 62% of the vote to earn the Democratic nomination for the board of commissioners District 5 seat. She will face Republican incumbent Ronnie Cowan in the Nov. 3 general election. 

She received 609 votes to Duren’s 368 votes, according to unofficial totals.

They qualified for the runoff after she received 39% and Duren 31% — edging out third-place finisher Cecil Spencer by 25 votes.

Piedrahita’s occupation is listed as activist, according to candidate records. 

District 5 stretches from Social Circle in the north to Mixon Elementary School in the south and includes northeast and central Newton County.

A total of 8,948 Newton County voters — 11% of the county’s almost 80,000 registered voters — cast ballots.

Officials said turnout was relatively heavy for a runoff election, though it also featured a race for Superior Court judge.

About 1,600 Newton County voters cast ballots early in-person during the three-week advance voting period before today’s runoff election — less than half the 3,400 who voted early before the June 9 election.

However, about 4,500 voted by absentee ballot — following a trend begun in the June 9 election.

In that election, more than 13,000 used absentee ballots to cast their votes after the Georgia Secretary of State’s office mailed applications in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring. 

It was more than four times the average and led to election staff members being delayed in completing the final count because of the more time-consuming way state law requires absentee ballots to be counted, officials said.