North, Wigington in Acworth runoff
by Noreen Cochran
May 21, 2014 04:00 AM | 4010 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Patrick D. Cooney
Patrick D. Cooney
Brett North
Brett North
Kevin Wigington
Kevin Wigington
ACWORTH — Voters have not yet chosen a two-year replacement for former Post 3 Alderman Bob Weatherford, who was in the District 1 Republican race for the county commission, and whose nonpartisan at-large seat expires Dec. 31, 2015.

In the running were Patrick D. Cooney, Brett North and Kevin Wigington, the latter two bound for the runoff election July 22.

As of midnight, Cooney won 235 votes, or 18 percent, North 591 votes or 40 percent, and Wigington 540 votes, or 42 percent.

Turnout was 1,469, or about 14 percent of the 10,567 active registered voters across three precincts.

Cooney, 69, is retired from aircraft inspection at Lockheed-Martin.

Cooney and his wife, Anne, have four children and seven grandchildren.

His platform is “to bring the city a new view of things in city government with the experience to ask the questions people want to know.”

Cooney said his campaign benefited from his “desire to answer questions about the present officers.”

A challenge for him, he said, was “time to visit more people.”

Cooney said he thought he and his opponents ran “a good campaign.”

North, 55, is a clinic manager at Life University and a member of the city planning and zoning board.

He and his wife, Ann, have no children.

His platform is quality growth, quality development and quality of life.

North’s endorsers included planning and zoning chair Ben Flanagan, Post 4 Alderman Tim Richardson, 2004 alderman candidate Steve Gallman and fellow Blue Springs Homeowner Association board member P. Douglas McKittrick.

He said his campaign got momentum from “a strong network of volunteers with my wife, Ann, being the president and CEO of my fan club.”

A challenging factor was reaching his potential constituents. 

“We had a goal of touching at least 1,000 people and late yesterday afternoon, we knocked on door No. 1,200; but that means we missed approximately 6,800 homes,” North said. “We did all we could do. We are proud of our efforts.”

Although he and Cooney did not interact, North said he felt Wigington ran a fair campaign.

“Kevin and I have crossed paths repeatedly,” North said. “We have been very friendly to each other; we have run a gentlemen’s race.  Regardless of tonight’s results, we can both be proud.”

North’s election night was spent quietly at home.

Wigington, 48, and his wife, Kim, run the Brookwood Christian School for children with dyslexia.

They have two children.

He is an officer on the Acworth Historic Preservation Commission.

Wigington earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and genetics from Kennesaw State University.

His platform was smart growth, low taxes and high quality of life.

Wigington credits social media with helping his campaign reach younger voters.

“We used that really heavily,” he said about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “I think it’s paid off.”

The campaign also reached out to two other groups of voters, Wigington said, to make the most of the two-month window of opportunity.

“We’ve concentrated on centers of influence — going after people of influence in the community,” he said. “Something that has been important in our campaign is doing work for the community, being in the community, at charity events. Folks know me and my campaign group. Those kind of things.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Wigington was fighting a personal energy drain, which he counteracted with “eating right” and trying to stay healthy.

“It’s been a sprint, but a fairly long sprint,” he said. “I’m a teacher, so you have to be up to be a teacher. It’s the same thing in the evening, coming home and not having any down time. That’s the thing I wasn’t expecting. I’m not a politician; that’s not why I ran. I have a bigger respect for politicians who do this for a year or two.”

Although he felt the campaigns of his opponents were fair, Wigington admitted not having a lot of information to offer on one of the candidates.

“Mr. Cooney hasn’t really campaigned at all,” he said.

Wigington, his family, campaign staff and supporters watched the returns come in at Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth.

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