In the race for Superior Court clerk, Keaton won 16,347 votes (62%) over John H. Skelton’s 10,007 votes (38%). Although this was the Republican primary runoff, no Democrats qualified to be on the November ballot.
Keaton and Kimberly Carroll, her deputy clerk, were with friends and supporters at Johnnie McCracken’s pub near the Marietta Square Tuesday night.
“All these people who’ve helped me, I couldn’t do it without them,” Keaton said. Her first order of business, she said, will be an audit of the clerk’s office to see where the money is going.
“The computer system now is not unified, and I understand there is money to improve it and get on board with other county agencies,” Keaton said.
Skelton, whose supporters gathered at the home of William and Marla Blackstone in west Cobb, expressed deep displeasure at what he perceived as Keaton’s negative campaign tactics.
“I ran a positive campaign I’m proud of. I can look my family in the eye tomorrow and say ‘I didn’t say bad things about people solely to get elected.’ Ms. Keaton did. But it is what it is,” he said. “I’ve learned some things, and I feel like I’m a better person for it. … I congratulate her for her win. Politics is for adults, and we’re all adults here. … I’m disappointed the discourse sank to such a depth. I just wasn’t willing to put on my scuba gear and go that low.”
Skelton, who was asked to run by the current clerk, Jay C. Stephenson, raised about $5,000, according to his June 30 disclosure. Stephenson’s deputy clerk, Elva Dornbusch, would have remained as deputy if Skelton were elected.
Keaton, though, denied that she ran a negative campaign against Skelton. She raised about $9,000 and loaned her campaign $52,000, according to the June 30 disclosure reports, and she was endorsed by such well-known Cobb Republicans as Attorney General Sam Olens and Sheriff Neil Warren.
“It’s a partisan race,” Keaton said. “We’re in a two-party system. He’s a Democrat and ran as a Republican. I simply exposed that. I called him out on it. I’m a strong Republican. He accused me of lying, but I haven’t lied. He’s a very nice guy. My only issues are partisan, and I think he’s disappointed he didn’t win.
“If anyone has been nasty, it’s him. He’s accused me of being a career politician, just because I ran once before and lost,” Keaton said. She was also the top vote-getter in the July 31 three-way race that included Joan Davis. In that vote, Keaton took 48 percent, while Skelton won 39 percent of the vote.
Sheriff Warren was among the revelers joining Keaton at McCracken’s on Tuesday night.
“I’ve known Rebecca for a number of years. I’ve watched her try cases. She’s hard working, and a hard conservative,” Warren said. “She’s very qualified. She understands the concept of a Constitutional officer, and I just know she’ll do an outstanding job.”
In the nonpartisan runoff for a seat on the Cobb State Court bench, Marsha Lake won 19,206 votes (61%) over Larry Burke’s 12,327 votes (39%).
Lake also led in the four-person primary on July 31, with 39%.
“We’ve worked very, very hard, and I think our prayers have been answered. We could not be happier,” Lake said from her home in Kennesaw, where supporters came and went throughout the night.
She said that since March, her campaign has knocked on more than 15,000 doors. Her June 30 financial report showed donations of $9,000 and a personal loan to her campaign of $20,000.
“We took a very different approach. I wanted to go out and introduce myself to the community and what I stood for, and I believe that has paid off,” Lake said.
Burke offered his congratulations to Lake late Tuesday.
“We ran a good, honest campaign but just came up a little short,” Burke said. “I offer her my congratulations, and I’ll certainly be supportive of her and all the other judges here in Cobb.”
Burke’s June 30 report showed donations of nearly $10,000.