Whether or not you approve of the results in last week’s elections in Cobb County, you must agree the voters spoke their independent minds.
As a result, Democrats and Republicans were both winners and losers.
Voters elected Democrats to head the Cobb County Commission along with two seats on the commission, the district attorney’s office, the Superior Court clerk and Cobb County sheriff, but spurned all the Democratic school board candidates and reelected the Republican incumbents.
As for the Cobb 21-member legislative delegation, all the incumbents — 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans — were reelected. It seems not all of us in Cobb County drink the ideological Kool-Aid of one party or the other.
Republicans have a fascinating penchant for self-destruction. The Cobb GOP seems to have a hard time figuring out who the enemy is. You will recall the high-profile squabble at their county convention a few years back when there was a deliberate attempt to publicly embarrass state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-west Cobb, one of the most highly respected members in the Legislature, for not rolling over on a education voucher bill while chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
After the debacle of 2018 when Cobb went for Hillary Clinton for president, the GOP’s intra-party finger-pointing reached new heights. You would have thought Cobb Republicans would have gotten their act together by now. You would have thought wrong.
Cobb Democrats had a wonderful opportunity to seize the middle ground where most of us reside. Instead, present-day Democrats — being who they are — decided we needed to be reminded of what a bunch of racists we are and how Cobb County was born of white flight 40 years ago, despite the fact that the county has since grown by 765% and that Blacks and Hispanics make up more that 40% of our citizens. Clearly, somebody else besides white people took flight for Cobb County when we weren’t looking.
The most egregious racist rants came from Democrat Cobb school board members Jaha Howard and Charisse Davis hoping to oust GOP incumbents David Banks, Randy Scamihorn and Brad Wheeler. They failed spectacularly, although I doubt this will tone down their rhetoric. Some attribute their lack of success to negative voter reaction to their efforts to alter or eliminate the school tax exemption for seniors. It was more than that. They are tiresome, one-note extremists whose appeal is an inch wide and an inch deep. They just don’t have that much walking-around influence.
One of the defeated school board candidates showed a petulance topped only by arrogance in her loss. Julia Hurtado, who lost to Banks, wrote the incumbent a note reeking in condescension. “I know you’re not as interested in data or math or science as I am,’ she opined, “but the numbers I’m looking at preclude any clear path forward for me at this time,” and added, “the data suggest that you won not for your efforts or your competence, but because of a relic of thought that has an expiration date.” Oh, please. Go suck a lemon.
Contrast that classless reaction to the responses from Cobb Commission chair Mike Boyce to winner Lisa Cupid and Joyette Holmes to the new DA, Flynn Broady, congratulating them and offering their help in the transition. As of this writing Cobb Sheriff Neal Warren who ran a surprisingly lackluster campaign has yet to be heard from.
I was not that surprised Boyce lost reelection and even predicted several times in this space it could happen. He could never get past the “Tax Hike Mike” label hung on him after he beat the late Tim Lee. Boyce promised no new taxes and then proceeded to increase the millage rate by 1.7 mils. This much I know about Mike Boyce: He is a straight shooter who did what he thought was right and makes no apologies. Also, he is a strong family man who isn’t defined by his public persona. I suspect he welcomes the chance to spend his free time being a grandfather.
I will be interested to see how the all-female Cobb Commission will operate. As a member of a household of alpha females, I expect the commissioners to be decisive. They certainly are around my house and we are currently raising a new generation of Yarbrough females who seem ready to continue the tradition.
To all the winners in last week’s election, I say well done. To those who lost, I remind them of Theodore Roosevelt’s admonition from “The Man in the Arena”: A tribute to those who fail “while daring greatly, so that his (or her) place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Now it is time to put the rancor and rhetoric behind us and work together to continue to make Cobb County the best place to live and work. We’ve done a pretty good job so far and there isn’t a lot that is broken and needs fixing. Let us multiply and not divide.
As always, I will be dispensing my much sought-after unsolicited advice to our public servants when I see room for improvement. No need to thank me. It’s a public service.