School board Chairman Jim McBrayer and Board of Commissioners Democratic nominee Dr. Doreen Williams were the big winners in Tuesday's primaries, both capturing more than 70 percent of Rockdale's votes.
Incumbents also won at the polls for local state races, such as the Fourth Congressional District, State House 91 and State House 113.
About 9,520 voters cast their ballots, or about 19.8 percent, out of about 48,000 active registered voters. Turnout for the primary was slow, especially with the early than usual primary date. Typically, the primary date is in July and early voting wouldn't start until June.
School Board Post 1
Jim McBrayer unofficially won re-election to a second term on the school board with 71.32 percent, or 6,193 votes. Challenger Alberteen Young, a certified public accountant, had 25.53 percent, or 2,477 votes.
McBrayer grinned as he accepted handshakes and hugs of congratulations from supporters and onlookers in the Elections Office waiting area for winning his second term to the school board Post 1 seat. He said it was a relief. "I do think my experience in education was a big plus and the stability and continuity we have on the board."
Young said, the morning after, "I want to thank everybody who voted for me." She said her aim wasn't to unseat McBrayer. But, she said, it was important for qualified people to run, "to make other people take a look at the job they're doing."
"I'm surprised at the number of people that don't really understand how important it is to elect people who have the same beliefs... It makes a difference, who's making your decisions." It was her first time running for elected office and Young said she wasn't sure whether or not she'd run again.
BOC Post 2 Democrats
Williams unofficially won the Democratic nomination for BOC Post 2 with 70.06 percent, or 3044 votes, avoiding a runoff in the three way race. Arlan Gibson and Josie Dean each collected a similar number of votes. Gibson won 15.37 percent, or 668 votes. Dean won 14.57 percent, or 633 votes.
"There's always the uncertainty until it's done," said Williams, a retired educator, as she waited for the results at the Rockdale Democratic Party's headquarters on Parker Road. "I'm really excited. We're planning how we're going to go forward to November. I'm totally relieved there's no runoff."
Gibson said he called and congratulated Williams. "She ran a good campaign. A very clean campaign. She was very deliberate and she pinpointed some of the issues of many of the Rockdale citizens," said Gibson. "I said I would support her in defeating the incumbent JaNice Van Ness."
Dean said she had no regrets running. "I fought a good race. I did something I thought I never was going to do. I didn't ask for money, I didn't ask for help. We did it all with five people. That's what my race was about; it was about the heart."
In November, Williams will face Republican incumbent Commissioner JaNice Van Ness, who had no opposition in the Republican primary.
U.S. Congress, Fourth District
As vote results slowly came in, Congressman Hank Johnson finally took the stage around midnight at the Jolie banquet hall in Decatur to claim victory over challenger Tom Brown.
A sizeable crowd remained to cheer him on, and Johnson called many people to join him onstage "because we're all in this together."
"We fought a real good, clean campaign. We won it fair and square," said the three-term congressman from Decatur, adding, "I will never let you down. You can bank on that."
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, state Sen. Ronald Ramsey and the new Board of Commissioners Post 2 Democratic nominee Doreen Williams made appearances at Johnson's event.
"I'm here to be with my friend. He's with me and I'm with him," Reed told reporters.
Johnson won with 55 percent of the vote, including a majority in both Rockdale and Newton counties.
"That's a strong margin," Johnson told the News. "I'm happy about that. We worked hard in those counties."
But, he added, he aims to win over any Brown supporters in Rockdale and Newton.
"That's my philosophy: Make friends and win over enemies and doubters," he said.
Brown's main criticism of Johnson was constituent services, and one resident made a similar complaint at a Conyers candidate forum. Asked whether he'll do anything differently in his next term, Johnson told the News there was no validity to those complaints.
"There was absolutely nothing to that," he said. "We've got one of the best constituent services operations in the nation... Our operation is renowned. That's what kept me in office."
Brown's campaign did not have immediate comment on the results.
State House District 113
Incumbent State House Rep. Pam Dickerson solidly (unofficially) won re-election to her third term with 65.72 percent, or 1,954, of the district vote over second-time challenger Sharon Sawyer, who won 34.28 percent, or 1019. District 113 covers Rockdale and Newton.
In Rockdale, Dickerson, a Conyers resident, won 85.01 percent of the vote, or 329 votes.
"I was very excited about the results. It was a low turnout (in Fieldstone), which was disappointing. We worked very hard. But I was very excited to see the turnout in Newton County."
"I feel like this is an affirmation," said Dickerson. "I think people do understand I am the right candidate. I'm out there and I'm getting the job done. I think that's most important. I definitely feel this is an affirmation."
She said next on her plate is planning a series of community events, including a town hall, a Family Day with Congressman Hank Johnson, Sen. Ronald Ramsey, the Newton County Sheriff's Office, and a Women's Health event. She also heard about various issues while she was canvassing. "I would like to get back to the people to see how I can resolve some of those issues," she said.
"We've been doing things in the community and we're going to continue doing things in the community."
State House District 91
Incumbent Representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler unofficially won re-election to her fourth term to the house, capturing 67.21 percent of the Rockdale vote and about 70 percent, or 2,775, of the overall district vote.
Challenger Diane Adoma won 29.94 percent, or 1,186 votes, of the overall district and a slightly higher rate in Rockdale - about 32.8 percent or 707 votes.
"The people spoke. You have to respect the democratic process," said Adoma. "I'm disappointed they're not ready for change but the people went to the polls. I hope our representative is ready to work (for the district)." Adoma said she did not intend to run for elected office again. "I ran because I felt like I could make a difference. I can't say there's anything I would do much different."
Messages to Dawkins-Haigler were not returned by publication time.
Local Contested Race Results
19 of 19 Rockdale precincts reporting
U.S. Congress, Fourth District (Democrat)
(Covers all Rockdale precincts and portions of Dekalb, Newton, and Gwinnett Counties)
Tom Brown: (2021, 43.54 % Rockdale) 21,875, 45.24% overall district
Henry "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (incumbent): ( 2621, 56.46% Rockdale) 26,474, 54.76% overall district
State House District 91 (Democrat)
(Covers Flat Shoals, Honey Creek, Magnet, Olde Towne, Rockdale, Salem, Smyrna, St. Pius, Stanton precincts and portions of Dekalb County)
Diane Adoma: (707, 32.79% Rockdale) 1186, 29.94% overall district
Dee Dawkins-Haigler (incumbent): ( 1449, 67.21% Rockdale) 2775, 70% overall district
State House District 113 (Democrat)
(Covers Fieldstone precinct and portions of Newton County)
Pam Dickerson (incumbent): (329, 85.01% Rockdale) 1954, 65.72% overall district
Sharon G. Sawyer: (58, 14.99% Rockdale) 1019, 34.28% overall district
Board of Commissioners Post 2 (Democrat) (all Rockdale precincts)
Josie Dean: 633, 14.57%
Arlan Gibson: 668, 15.37%
Doreen L. Williams: 3044, 70.06%
Board of Education, Post 1 (nonpartisan) (all Rockdale precincts)
Jim McBrayer: 6193, 71.32%
Alberteen Young: 2477, 28.53%