MARIETTA — Former Cobb chairman candidate Mike Boyce said he’s not sure if he will endorse anyone in the chairman’s runoff set for Aug. 21.
“(Incumbent Tim Lee) and I were so far apart on our positions, and from day one (challenger Bill Byrne) never really took me seriously, so why should any endorsement that I give mean anything to him?” he said. “I have no desire to become part of a process where they’re going to use me as part of their positions.”
Lee will go head-to-head with Byrne for the chairman race runoff. Early voting will start as early as Aug. 13 and the election date is set the next week. With no Democrats in the race, the winner of the runoff will likely take office in January.
Larry Savage, the fourth candidate running for the seat, did not return phone calls as of press time Wednesday.
Marietta attorney Chuck Clay said it’s hard to say who could win the runoff because there should be a slight advantage to the incumbent, but with both Lee and Byrne being “known entities” in Cobb, it will all depend on who can get the most people back to the ballots in three weeks.
“The traditional rule is that if you’re an incumbent and you’re down, then you’re in trouble, but this is a little different scenario with the (TSPLOST) on and off, and both of these people have records that are known,” he said. “You don’t have an incumbent challenging a fresh face. It kind of throws that traditional view off.”
For Lee, Clay said he’s has the advantage in fundraising and seems to be well-liked, but Byrne is a hardworking candidate and within “striking distance.”
He also said that traditionally, around 15 to 20 percent of registered voters turn out for the primaries, and somewhere around half of that will make a showing for runoffs.
“At this time, it’s purely a turnout issue — who can get folks to come back to the poll?” he said.
Lee and Byrne’s runoff is not the only one on tap for later this month.
Lee’s colleague on the commission, Woody Thompson, will fight to keep his seat away from first-time candidate Lisa Cupid, who said she’s been endorsed by former candidates Monica DeLancy and Ruth Negron
Cupid said she is confident about the race, given that more than 70 percent of voters opposed Thompson.
“We were pretty successful knocking door to door and calling people directly,” she said. “That may have to continue.”
Thompson said he talked with Connie Taylor, whom he appointed to the SPLOST Oversight Committee and Board of Tax Assessors, about an endorsement.
While nothing is official, he feels confident about the endorsement from Taylor, who finished fourth in the race, just behind Dr. Michael Rhett.
“I think she’s on board to help,” Thompson said.
The third runoff on the ballot will be a competition between first-time candidates Brad Wheeler and Larry Darnell, who are vying to face Democratic incumbent Alison Bartlett to represent west central Cobb and McEachern, Harrison and Hillgrove high schools.
The third candidate in the race, Heather Ryan of Acworth, came just 76 votes, or 1 percent, shy of ending up in the runoff.
She said she didn’t know if she would endorse anyone.
“The people who stood behind me are smart enough to decide between the two, and I don’t want to sway their decisions one way or the other,” she said.
Both Darnell and Wheeler said they were going to reach out to her for their support though.
“She’s speaking for a lot of people in west Cobb,” Wheeler said. “Her message hit home with a lot of people, and I’d love to talk with her because I think there’s a lot of people who respect what she has to say.”
Janine Eveler, the county’s election board director, said voters can’t switch parties in the runoff.
“(Voters) have to cast the same party’s ballot, Democrat to Democrat, Republican to Republican, but if they voted the nonpartisan ballot on July 31, then they can choose either party’s runoff ballot on Aug. 21 because they haven’t voted in either primary at that point,” she said.