Though the nation’s eyes have peered in on Georgia throughout this year’s election, it all comes down to voters in Cobb and across the Peach State Tuesday.
All of the county’s polling places will open at 7 a.m., and Cobb voters will help decide three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, five seats in the State Senate and 11 seats in the State House. They’ll join voters statewide in deciding the next secretary of state, lieutenant governor and other statewide offices.
At the top of the ballot is the vote for Georgia’s next governor, a contest that has brought several celebrities to the state, and at times, national news coverage.
This weekend saw President Donald Trump appearing in Macon to stump for Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp in his bid for the governor’s mansion, while Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, touted Democrat Stacey Abrams’ qualifications for the top office. Abrams also previously had Oprah Winfrey and Will Ferrell make appearances on her behalf, and both took time to make stops in Cobb.
Also vying for the executive position is Libertarian candidate Ted Metz, who could trigger a runoff if no one receives more than half the total vote.
Within the county, voters in several Cobb County School Board posts will have decisions to make. In Post 4, Republican and Board Vice Chairman David Chastain faces a challenge from Democrat Cynthia Parr, a pastor at Faith Presbyterian Church in Canton. In Post 6, incumbent Republican board member Scott Sweeney faces opposition from Democrat Charisse Davis, a youth services librarian and assistant branch manager for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.
Pediatric dentist Jaha Howard will replace Post 2 board member Susan Thayer next year after defeating fellow Democrat Angelia Pressley in the May primary. Thayer opted not to seek reelection this year and no Republican qualified to replace her.
About half of Cobb voters will see county commission seats on their ballot, though only one is contested — that of District 3, which covers Marietta, Kennesaw and parts of north, northeast and central Cobb County. Voters in the district will choose from incumbent Republican JoAnn Birrell, Democrat Caroline Holko and Marietta plumber Joseph Pond, who describes himself as an independent and filed as a write-in candidate for the commission seat.
Voters in Cobb Commission District 1, which includes west and northwest Cobb, will see the name of Republican Keli Gambrill, who topped incumbent District 1 Commissioner Bob Weatherford in this summer’s GOP runoff, on the ballot. Weatherford’s term will end in December. No other candidates qualified for Tuesday’s contest.
Also unopposed in Tuesday’s contests are state Sen. Michael Rhett, D-Marietta; state Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs; state Rep. Teri Anulewicz, D-Smyrna; state Rep. Sheila Jones, D-Atlanta; and state Rep. Roger Bruce, D-Atlanta.
Through Saturday, 134,173 votes had been cast in Cobb out of the county’s 486,697 active registered voters, according to Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler. That amounts to a turnout thus far of 27.6 percent.
While governor elections in Cobb generally see turnouts within the 50 to 58 percent range, Eveler said, this year’s early midterm numbers were trending closer the 2012 presidential election turnout, which reached 75 percent.
Though she said the strong early showing of voters could put this year’s turnout closer to 70 percent, Tuesday’s forecasted storms could deter residents, bringing participation closer to 65 percent.
Eveler, therefore, declined to offer a firm turnout estimate.
“No crystal ball here,” she said.
Election Day rain is all but certain for Cobb voters: AccuWeather puts the chance of precipitation at 90 percent, with thunderstorms possible in the morning and partly cloudy skies later in the day. A few storms could become severe, the weather service says.
In races with more than two candidates, if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election will be scheduled between the top two vote-getters. For state and county offices, that contest would be held Dec. 4, while any federal races that go to a runoff would be settled Jan. 8.
Visit mdjonline.com Tuesday night for the latest results affecting Cobb County.