Possibly the closest watched race will be that of county commission chairman, in which incumbent Republican Bill Chappell is seeking his second full term, with challenges in the GOP primary from businessmen Marty Smith and Walt Hollingsworth. If any candidate fails to get a majority Tuesday, the top two vote-getters will be on an Aug. 21 runoff ballot.
In other county races, incumbent District 3 Commissioner Ashley Smith Hendrix faces challenges by Tommy Lee and Jason Wilcox.
Incumbent District 5 Commissioner Kevin Jackson is running against Slade Jenkins.
In what has become a contest with a higher profile than normal is the race between five-term incumbent Coroner Sammy Eady, who is being challenged by former-deputy Jamie Godbee. The winner of that contest will face the sole Democratic candidate LaDonna Fryar in the Nov. 6 general election.
The final early voting figures at 4:30 p.m. Friday showed that 3,233 people had cast ballots, representing about 5.65 percent of the 57,166 registered voters. The total included 315 voters who cast early ballots on Friday.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Becky Deese, county elections supervisor, said voters should check to be sure which precinct they’re voting in, since redistricting has changed many of the district boundaries since last year.
“You can go to the Georgia secretary of state website at sos.ga.gov and click on MVP (my voter page),” Deese said.
The site will provide a sample ballot specific for your voting districts and precinct.
Two challengers are waging a heated campaign against Chappell’s re-election as chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
Chappell maintains he has paid off county debt he inherited and built up a healthy $11 million reserve.
“The county is in vastly better shape than when I came in,” Chappell said. “We’ve done it without increasing taxes or cutting pay.”
He said his administration has been the most open on record, putting all the checkbooks and budgets online.
“We’re as transparent as any government in Georgia or the whole Southeast,” Chappell claimed.
Smith has charged that Chappell is not working with the district commissioners or the people of the county, but is running government to reward his friends and punish his enemies. He also maintains that Chappell is taking credit for the county’s good financial position when it is actually due, Smith said, to action by the prior administration.
“A 2-mill increase was handed the board prior to his taking over,” Smith said. “In the first year, it generated $6 million, which was enough to take care of the debt. He didn’t have to raise taxes. That was all done before he took over.”
Hollingsworth said that the county needs “a breath of fresh air” and “new blood” in the chairman’s position. His campaign slogan has been, “It’s easy as A-B-C. Anybody But Chappell.”
He has questioned Chappell’s making decisions without input from the people or the other commissioners.
Hollingsworth has called for a change in county bylaws to eliminate what he called “the $12,500 rule.”
“The chairman can make any expenditure up to that amount without board approval,” he said. “It’s not stipulated how many times he can use it.”
He would also like to see a change in voting procedure which now allows the chairman to cast a vote on every item.
“The chairman should be there to break a tie, not to vote on every issue,” he said. “I want to empower the Board of Commissioners to be included in more decisions.”
Chappell has charged that both his opponents are speaking in “loose generalities” and have no platforms of their own.
“The chairman of Carroll County is a CEO (chief executive officer) job,” Chappell said recently. “The board is not a committee set up to run the government. The chairman is in charge of government and organizational matters. That’s what the law says.”
Other contested races on Tuesday’s ballot include:
• T-SPLOST (transportation special purpose local option sales tax) referendum, which would impose a one-cent sales tax to be used to fund district transportation projects.
• Nonpartisan race for judge of Superior Court of the Coweta Judicial Circuit between Kevin McMurry, an assistant district attorney, and Emory Palmer, a trial lawyer.
• Nonpartisan Board of Education seats. In District 1, incumbent Bernice B. Brooks, faces challenges from Rob Cleveland and Terry W. Turner; in District 3, incumbent Chris Gammon is being challenged by Robert D. Pinckney.
• The 3rd District U.S. Representative race in which incumbent Lynn Westmoreland is facing challenges from “Chip” Flanegan and Kent Kingsley.
The city of Temple will vote on whether to allow Sunday sales of beer and wine.