Chastain, Sweeney punch tickets to BoE
by Haisten Willis
May 21, 2014 03:01 AM | 4848 views | 10 10 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
David Chastain
David Chastain
'Candidly, I’d like to see what we can do to reduce class sizes even further. I think we can afford 400 (new teachers) easily.' ­— ­Scott Sweeney, Cobb School Board member
'Candidly, I’d like to see what we can do to reduce class sizes even further. I think we can afford 400 (new teachers) easily.' ­— ­Scott Sweeney, Cobb School Board member
MARIETTA — After major delays halted election returns for hours Tuesday night, one newcomer and one incumbent are headed to terms on the Cobb Board of Education, while another race is headed for a runoff.

Republican incumbent Scott Sweeney appears headed to re-election with a win over telecommunications director Kevin Nicholas in east Cobb’s Post 6.

Sweeney took 3,347 votes, or 52 percent, to Nicholas’ 3,132 votes, or 48 percent.

“We’ll accept that result and we will continue to work hard for our schools and community,” said Nicholas, who kept track of returns at Rose and Crown Tavern on Powers Ferry Road.

Calls and emails sent to Sweeney had not been returned at press time.

Elsewhere, Lockheed Martin analyst David Chastain bested former Marietta Sixth Grade Academy Principal Bill Scott to take Post 4, representing northeast Cobb. Neither Post 6 nor Post 4 had a Democrat in the race.

“I focused on the conservative values most in Cobb share, at least among Republicans,” said Chastain, who took in election results at Paradise Grill on Sandy Plains Road. “I focused on those Republicans that were most likely to get out and vote. I’d say that I talked about parents and students and teachers and trying to keep from raising taxes. That’s what resonates with people.”

Chastain took 3,910 votes, or 66 percent, to Scott’s 1,990 votes. Chastain will replace Kathleen Angelucci, who is not seeking reelection.

Post 2, encompassing the Smyrna/Vinings area, appears headed to a July 22 runoff between incumbent Tim Stultz, an engineer, and former Pebblebrook High School Principal Susan Thayer. Wells Fargo Lending officer Jeff Abel didn’t make it with just 21 percent of the vote. Thayer took 1,876 votes, or 45 percent, Stultz had 1,403 votes, or 34 percent, and Abel had 878 votes. A runoff is needed because neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote.

“I’ve been very pleased with the race so far, it’s been respectful and courteous,” Thayer said from her home in Smyrna. “Jeff Abel ran a very good race. I respect him and his wife, they seem to be outstanding parents.”

Thayer said she’s not made plans for runoff campaigning just yet.

The winner between Stultz and Thayer will face Democrat Kenya Pierre, an attorney, during the general election Nov. 4.

Post 2 has 48,256 registered voters, of which 4,804 or 10 percent actually cast ballots. Post 4 had 7,045 voters, or 14 percent out of a possible 50,637 that are registered. Post 6, with 54,878 registered voters, had 7,448 or 14 percent cast ballots.

Stultz is finishing his first term on the school board. The Georgia Tech graduate differed from his opponents on a number of issues. He was the only one to oppose Common Core, a controversial set of education standards, and opposed the possible relocation of East Cobb Middle School to a site near Terrell Mill Road.

Stultz received a total of $2,023 in contributions. His biggest expense was $570, the fee required to qualify for the race.

Abel raised $658, of which $570 went to qualifying.

By contrast, Thayer had a more well-funded campaign. She received a $2,500 contribution from the Cobb County Association of Educators on April 24, and loaned herself $20,000 on March 13.

Stultz, who kept track of voting results from home, attributed his success to his conservative values.

“I think I’ve been very consistent with my principles and my voting since I’ve been on the board, and that’s helped tremendously,” he said. “I think it shows a conservative perspective to being a public servant that really is a carryover from what I have already been doing the last four years.”

Post 4

Chastain and Scott were cordial on the campaign trail, each saying the biggest difference between the two is that Scott has an education background and Chastain has a business background. But in the end, Chastain came out on top.

A bizarre episode in Scott’s campaign was his endorsement from University of Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason. Scott’s website,, for weeks featured a video of the athlete, a Lassiter High School product who grew up in Cobb.

“I’ve known Mr. Scott since I was in elementary school as he was my principal,” Mason says in the grainy video. “It’s not often that students get to know their principal personally, but he took a special interest in all his students as he knew us by our name. I gladly endorse him to be a member of the Cobb County school board because I know that he wants the best for all students.”

The 31-second video ran on a continuous loop on the site. Mason was seen wearing a Georgia t-shirt.

“I hope that you will join me in voting for Bill Scott on May 20 because he is so much needed in Cobb County,” Mason said. “So many of his former students are motivated to do their best as we saw the best in him every day. Thank you.”

A message from Scott below the video read “thank you Hutson Mason for your endorsement. I am proud to have been your principal.”

The MDJ called UGA Tuesday to ask if the endorsement violated NCAA rules, and was assured by Senior Associate Athletic Director Jim Booz it did not. However, within hours the video was gone.

Calls to Scott seeking comment had not been returned at press time.

Scott raised $4,555 in total for his campaign. He loaned himself $2,000 and also contributed $150 to his campaign. His biggest expenditure was $1,696 for campaign signs.

Chastain has raised $4,338 for his campaign, $4,292 of which was unspent as of March 31, the latest filing deadline. Chastain made several contributions to himself totaling more than $2,000. He also received $2,000 from Marietta resident Raymond Yearty, president of Yearty Consulting.

Post 6

The contentious battle for Post 6 ended with Sweeney outlasting Nicholas.

In April, The Marietta Daily Journal reported Sweeney had been hired as a consultant by Promethean Ltd. a company that markets digital white boards to school systems as teaching tools.

Sweeney had been spotted in New Orleans at a national school board convention and later said he went on behalf of Promethean rather than the Cobb school board. The race grew hostile over the closing weeks. In the end, voters stuck with the incumbent.

Nicholas raised $7,200 for his campaign, $6,410 of which was unspent as of March 31. He loaned $5,000 to himself on March 7, and had a $790 in-kind donation from web designer Stephan Laenen for the design of his website,

Sweeney raised $3,070 for his campaign. He loaned himself $570 to cover qualification fees and later received $2,500 from the Cobb County Association of Educators.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Ben Twomey
May 21, 2014
I guess the voters in Post 6 don't care who "represents" them on the school board. Scott Sweeney is in the pocket of the Chamber of Commerce, whcih means he is going to vote, not for the good of the kids and the schools, but for the good of whichever "good ole boy" the C of C wants to help out.

His relationship to the technology company that is headed up by member of the Cobb Schoosl Foundation should have been enough to turn off most voters. Add to that the pandering of the woman who latched herself onto him and Sweeney should have been on the way out the door.
South Cobb Parent
May 21, 2014
Post 2 shoots self in foot again! It is very unfortunate that we are in a run off situation. This was an easily predicted outcome.
Sad for post 6
May 21, 2014
You gave it a good shot Nicholas. But hopefully Scott Sweeney received his wake up call and realizes that he needs to do more for his post and communicate much better than he has. He has not communicated expect to discuss raising taxes. Plus I really don't like that he hangs out now with the Johns (Abraham and Crooks) who were the most vindictive school board members out there. I hope that you remain professional and don't stoop to their intimidation tactics but this post won't stand for it. So wake up and look out for the people you should be looking for - the parents and students.
Jeff Jacoby
May 21, 2014
I am proud of the voters in Post 4. Yesterday, we showed Mr. Scott that we recognize a "poser" when we see one, the same way we showed Mr. Borden four years ago.

What annoys me about this race, however, is how the Cobb GOP leadership failed to properly vet Mr. Scott. How did this Democrat-in-Republican-clothing ever get on the GOP ticket? Clearly, the voters are better guardians of the party than is its leadership.
May 21, 2014
And how do you justify David Chastain's position on the Republican Ticket. What are his GOP credentials?
Amen Brother!
May 21, 2014
Joe Dendy allowed Bill Scott to qualify without really vetting him. The Republican Party is supposed to stand for conservatism; there is nothing remotely conservative about Bill Scott. Post 4 voters knew very well he was propped up by James Wilson, John Abraham and John Crooks - shame on you all. You are no longer on the Board; get over it and move on. We have!
Jeff Jacoby
May 21, 2014
To: "Truth"

Of the two candidates, which do you think will be more conservative?
May 21, 2014
Rather have a Libertarian any day of the week and twice on Sunday than to have a proven Democrat, no kids in schools, terrible ex-principal who gave up his teaching certificate. Scott was walking into schools campaigning during school hours; dishonest and underhanded, that is how to describe Bill Scott.
Sad days for parents
May 23, 2014
It truly is a sad day for the parents of Post 4. I have learned that a good politician does not make a good leader (hence our current president). Bill Scott's platform was the kids need to be considered first and foremost on all decisions and David Chastain's was representing the Cobb County taxpayer. I believe less than 10% of the registered voters voted, how truly sad. The parents of Post 4 have no one to blame but themselves.
2 the Victor goes...
May 21, 2014
My mom used to tell me that "Winners never lose and Losers never win". She then went on to explain that there was a deeper meaning than the actual scoreboard.... It really does matter how the game is played. Fortunately, most voters have an uncanny ability to know when a campaign is unethical and/or just telling lies. Congats to he voters!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides