The T-SPLOST was the big loser of the night as the transportation penny sales tax referendum went down in flames in Rockdale, the Atlanta region and most of the rest of the state.
Local voters joined the rest of Atlanta region in voicing their opposition to the T-SPLOST penny sales tax referendum.
In Rockdale 70 percent of voters said ‘No’ to the sales tax and 30 percent said ‘Yes.’
They appear to join the majority of Atlanta area voters. In the Atlanta region, the AJC reported about 63 percent were against and 37 percent for the T-SPLOST, as of 11:50 p.m., with 87 percent of precincts reporting in the 10-county Atlanta region.
Fred Straub, who sits on the current SPLOST Citizens’ Oversight Committee, said he voted for the measure but was not surprised at its defeat in Rockdale. “I think it’ll get beat overall,” he said Tuesday around 9 p.m. “It was a local control versus non-local control issue more than anything else.”
Mike Houchard, who is also on the same committee, said “I did not support it that much because I think the list was done the wrong way. I think the state legislatures advocated their roles in what they did at the start.”
Conyers Mayor Randy Mills said the next morning, "This was a TKO. It didn’t pass anywhere." Mills and Commission Chairman Richard Oden were on the 21-member Regional Roundtable that formed the final project list.
"You take the message that there was a disconnect, and you move forward. The people that you represent know there’s still a traffic issue... You move onto a different plan." But, he pointed out, "You have less funding, less money."
Superior Court Judge
Rockdale voters also made their choice loud and clear as Robert Mumford won three-way Superior Court Judge race in a landslide.
Mumford, a former District Attorney and state Representative, won 62 percent of the vote while Earnelle Winfrey had 21 percent and Gary Washington had 17 percent of the vote.
Even though early numbers indicated he had a clear lead, Mumford waited until the last precinct was in before formally acknowledging his win.
“I’d like to thank the many, many people who helped me in this campaign. I think we ran a campaign that will be a model in Rockdale County from now on,’”said Mumford to the many supporters and a who’s who line-up of the local legal community gathered at his Green Street office. “We reached out to everyone in this county; we ran a campaign of diversity, and I think it paid off in this election…thank you Rockdale County and everyone who’s here tonight.”
Winfrey, who held a gathering at her office, said “Of course I am disappointed. Of course I wanted to win. But the citizens of Rockdale have spoken. I called Mr. Mumford and congratulated him on his win.”
“I do think we worked hard. My team and I put our best foot forward, so I do feel good about that.” She said this experience was an education, and was not sure if she’d run again.
Washington could not be reached by deadline.
Current Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation is retiring at the end of this year after more than 25 years on the bench.
BOC Post 1
Rockdale County Commission Post I incumbent and Democrat Oz Nesbitt defeated Democratic challenger Jerry Shepperd by nearly 1,400 votes and will face Republican Tom Harrison in November.
“Congratulations to the people of Rockdale County – they are serious about moving this county progressively forward,” Nesbitt said Tuesday night. “It’s not about Oz Nesbitt – it is about the people of this county.”
Following the election results, Shepperd said he would consider running again in the future.
“It was surprising that the voters of Rockdale have spoken and made their choice and we will to live with it until November,” Shepperd said late Tuesday night.
Harrison won the Republican vote by earning 4,716 votes to defeat Sam Smiley, who received 3,486 votes.
Reached by phone following the election, Tom Harrison said “I am proud of the citizens of Rockdale County for bringing in the win tonight and proud that they are behind me to bring new leadership to Rockdale County.”
Sam Smiley said the people had made their choice and he would move forward and continue to go after the hard after the issues. “To have almost 3500 people in the county vote for me is certainly an honor. I obviously had the support of a lot of people.”
Smiley said he was not sure if he would run for elected office again, though “it was well worth the trip.” He did not comment on whether or not he would endorse Harrison.
Incumbent Richard Oden won the Democratic nomination for Chairman with 56 percent of the Democratic ballots, or 4,204, to Brian Jenkins' 44 percent, or 3,359 ballots.
Oden said, the next morning, "I’m thankful and appreciative of the victory we ran... We’re victorious. I’m so excited about that. I want to congratulate Mr. Jenkins." He said he would continue doing what he's been doing as Chairman, as his track record showed results.
Jenkins said he was pleased with the number of people that supported him. "I was very impressed. We spent little money but garnered 44 percent of the vote." He pointed out incumbents in other nearby counties won more convincingly than Oden did.
"For me to have garnered 44 percent of the vote, I am humbled but give all the credit to God," Jenkins said. "We’re going to introduce a new brand of democratic politics in Rockdale County.We move on and we come back stronger next time. I will continue to be a voice for the 44 percent."
Eric Levett will face four-term incumbent and Republican Sheriff Jeff Wigington in November after defeating Donald Ferguson 4,288 votes to Ferguson’s 3,205 votes for the Democratic nomination.
Levett, who is a Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office deputy, said he is thankful to the voters and he will continue seeking support until the November election.
“I believe I can earn the citizen’s votes between now and November. I believe they are looking to forge a new level of service and I can do that. The numbers (votes) speak to that.”
Ferguson said when reached by phone the next morning that he knew it would be a long night once he heard the results of the early/absentee voting.
"I have no comments. The sheriff knows what he did. I heard what actually was supposed to take place. God has a plan for me. Everything is done for a reason. I think what took place yesterday will be exposed. God has a way of correcting certain things. What I do stand for is being ethically based and believing in integrity. Ethical grounding and integrity were not part of yesterday’s election," Ferguson said.
Charles Mays was the winner of the Democratic nomination Tuesday night as he won 52 percent of the vote, or 3716 votes, to Cayce Dix’s 3376 votes or 58 percent.
“It’s been a close race and we hope to push forward and take the election in November. I appreciate all the help and especially the votes. I hope the voter will work with me further,” Mays said.
Caycie Dix released the following statement on Wednesday, "I would like to thank all of my supporters this time around in my running for Probate Court judge. I do hope the most qualified candidate for the position will lead the community in the direction it needs to go."
Mays will go on to face Republican and incumbent five-term Probate Court Judge Lillis Brown in November.