Incumbent Bill Chappell had the highest vote total in the primary, with 4,594 votes, or 34.9 percent. Marty Smith came in a close second with 4,356 votes, or 33.1 percent, to win a spot on the runoff ballot. Walt Hollingsworth had 4,217 votes, or 32.0 percent.
The Democratic Party fielded no commission chairman candidate in the primary, so the winner of the Republican runoff will face no opposition in the Nov. 6 general election.
Historically, voter turnout for runoff elections has often been below 10 percent of the qualified voters. In the 2007 runoff in the special election to succeed Robert Barr, who had resigned as chairman, about 17 percent of the voters cast ballots. Chappell won that election, taking 54.5 percent of the vote.
Chappell’s campaign has increased print and radio advertising and has been using telephone calls to urge voters back to the polls for the Aug. 21 runoff.
“I’ve been trying to get out to as many places as I possibly can,” Chappell said. “I think we’re reaching a whole lot of folks, but it’s a question of how many we can reach.”
Smith is also revving up his campaign to get his voters back to the polls and to pick up as many Hollingsworth voters as possible. Hollingsworth has said he would support Smith.
“We had a lot of similarities in our platforms and the reasons they voted for me were the same as the reasons they voted for Walt,” Smith said Friday. “The majority of people in Carroll County had a reason to vote for us.”
Smith’s campaigning includes radio and newspaper advertising, mailings, e-mails and door-to-door visits.
“Runoffs have a low turnout and we hope we can get people back out to vote on Aug. 21,” he said.
Chappell said his message is to remind voters of his record since he’s been in office.
“When I came into office five years ago, the county was broke,” he said. “We paid off the debts, built up a reserve, and did it all without furloughs, layoffs or pay cuts.”
All that was accomplished without raising taxes, he said.
Chappell cited accomplishments such as the building of a new courthouse and public works facility, developing the Little Tallapoosa Park, taking over John Tanner Park and improving roads.
“We’ve worked hard over the last five years on resurfacing roads and paving dirt roads,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of progress and there’s a lot more to be made. I’m proud of the county personnel and the jobs they do.”
Smith said he wants to provide an open and transparent government and work to unify the county.
“We want to find ways to reduce taxes and save money,” he said. “Instead of growing the budget, we want to see how we can cut back.”
Smith pledged to show leadership by building relationships and working with the Board of Commissioners.
“We care about what individual citizens have to say and what their wishes are and we want to get more of them involved,” he said.
The Aug. 21 runoff will also determine a winner in the Carroll County Board of Education District 1 race. Incumbent Dr. Bernice Brooks received the majority of votes on July 31 but did not reach the required 50 percent mark. Brooks received 42 percent of the vote, and her runoff opponent, Rob Cleveland, had 29.1 percent. The third primary opponent, Terry Turner, received 28.9 percent.
Early voting for the runoff elections will begin Monday and continue through Friday, according to Becky Deese, county elections supervisor.
Early voting will be held each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., only in the county elections office on College Street in Carrollton, on the lower level of the building. No Saturday early voting date will be held.
Certain state rules apply for a runoff election:
• If you voted a Democratic ballot in the July 31 primary, you cannot vote in the Republican commission chairman runoff election.
• If you voted a Republican or non-partisan ballot on July 31, you can vote in the Republican commission chairman runoff election.
• If you did not vote at all in the July 31 primary, you can still vote in the Republican commission chairman runoff election.
• The runoff election for District 1, Board of Education, seat is open only to voters living in BOE District 1 and voting in Villa Rica south, north and city precincts, regardless of whether they voted in the July 31 primary.
• Registration deadline for the Aug. 21 runoff election is July 2, same as the registration deadline for the July 31 primary.
• Early voters must show a photo ID to receive a ballot.
• Absentee ballot voters should apply for the ballot as soon as possible since the ballots will be due back in the elections office by the close of the polls on Aug. 21.