Incumbent county Commissioner and Republican JaNice Van Ness received a majority of the votes for a second four-year term over Democratic challenger Courtney Dillard, according to the unofficial results on Tuesday night.
“Every vote counts until the last vote is counted,” said Dillard, to a gathering of supporters at Don Tellos as they waited for the last of 437 mail ballots to be counted at the Board of Elections office.
“We are still in a margin of error of about 3 percent. And I believe this is not going to end this evening; it’s going to go into tomorrow.”
By 12:24 a.m. Wednesday, the mail ballots had been counted.
Van Ness received 14,023 votes, or 52.9 percent, and Dillard received 12,463 votes, or 47.02 percent.
The incumbent Post 2 Commissioner said she felt elated as the numbers came in.
“I was really proud of all the hard work of the people that served on our campaign,” said Van Ness. “It really makes me appreciate each and every voter.”
She said she was a little disappointed the margin wasn’t higher. “I had a lot of confidence in voters in Rockdale County and the time they would take to research candidates,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to serving the next four years and doing a fantastic job,” said Van Ness.
Dillard said his campaign had raised the bar of running a successful campaign. “My sole purpose of this campaign was to unite all citizens in Rockdale County and not create divisions.”
“We’re going to continue to fight. We’re going to continue to make sure this community is healed,” he said.
Dillard thanked his campaign staff, volunteers and his wife, Gayla Dillard. “The love of my life,” he said. “This was a difficult process. Everyday that they were attacking me, they were also attacking her. They were also attacking my children.”
Of his opponent, Van Ness, Dillard said, “I tried to get her into a position where she would define something that she’d done specifically, but we never found one specific issue that she could rest her hat on. That’s probably the most formidable reason why I entered into the race and ran the campaign because the Post 2 seat, I believe, has not really contributed to the Board of Commissioners.”
“My name is Courtney Dillard. I’m your next commissioner for Rockdale County. I’m going to continue to fight for the people,” he said.