Those in the former category would include incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, while headliners in the second category are businessman David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, the two leading vote-getters in the Republican senatorial primary. Perdue and Kingston now will meet in what promises to be a hard-fought runoff two months hence.
Consolation is due U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), whose campaign for the same Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss never found the traction he had expected. Gingrey served Cobb County and the rest of the 11th District ably through the years and his reliably conservative vote will be missed on Capitol Hill.
Meanwhile, congratulations are due to the two leading vote-getters in the contest to succeed Gingrey: former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cartersville) and former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Smyrna). There is no Democrat seeking the seat. They will face each other July 22 in a runoff. They shouldered past the other two leading contenders for the seat, Marietta’s Tricia Pridemore and Buckhead’s Ed Lindsey, with Pridemore in particular striking a chord with many Cobb voters and perhaps positioning herself well for a run in the future should she so desire.
The other high-profile local race on July 22 will pit former Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne against former Acworth Alderman Bob Weatherford for the District 1 seat on the Commission representing northwest Cobb. That race has been one of the spring’s most heated and likely will only get more so between now and voting day.
There also will be runoffs on July 22 between Cobb judicial candidates Ann Harris and Juanita Stedman, and between Post 2 school board candidates Susan Thayer and Tim Stultz.
Congratulations also are due to District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell of northeast Cobb, who easily withstood a pair of challengers, and also to all those who won their respective primaries for state Legislature and Cobb school board. A special note of congratulations is in order for District 34 legislative challenger Bert Reeves, who was targeted by one of the ugliest election-eve onslaughts in local memory by apparent allies of his incumbent opponent but still eked out a narrow victory. We’re confident that Reeves will reward that support.
And a special note of consolation is due to longtime state Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta, Powder Springs), “the dean of the Senate,” who served his district and the state ably for years and was unseated Tuesday by Michael Rhett, a victim of the changing demographics of the district.
Mention also must be made of the tardiness of the returns on Tuesday. Cobb has invested heavily through the years in voting machines and technology, and it thus is irksome to hear that six voting machines at the North Star Church polling place in Kennesaw did not upload correctly, resulting in nearly 500 ballots having to be counted by hand. We’re confident, though, that Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler will get the kinds in the process worked out by the time of the runoff.
Voter turnout in Cobb was only 17.45 percent on Tuesday. Sadly, it likely will be even less for the runoffs. Much is at stake for our state and county. Not only do the candidates deserve better from the electorate, county residents owe it to themselves to make their wishes known, via the ballot box. As for those who did the right thing by voting on Tuesday, you deserve the thanks of your fellow Cobb Countians.