(Franklin) — This week’s Republican primary brought some major changes to the local political landscape in Heard County as the election resulted in three new commissioners that will be taking over seats in 2015.
In the most closely contested vote in Heard County history, Joe Adams avoided a runoff election in District Five by just one vote as he unseated incumbent Sandi Allen.
Adams garnered 111 votes to Allen’s 102 with Yvette Abrahamson tallying eight votes. Adams’ 111 votes gave him exactly the 50% plus one vote he need to win the seat.
Allen had defeated Adams more handily in the 2010 election. Adams spoke just after the results were posted about his plans for the next four years.
“I appreciate everybody in my district that has come out and helped me tonight and this week.” Adams said. “My goals are that I just want to keep people in touch and I want to work for my people in my district. I want to make sure we get everything we deserve. We need SPLOST… it needs to come to us to. We need help down there… we need roads cleaned up and bush-hogged better. I just want our district to be represented all together.”
Six year commissioner Sandi Allen also commented after the close results were announced. “I wish Joe the best luck in the world,” stated Allen. “I have enjoyed the six years that I served… I did the best job that I could do for the people.”
In District Two, another incumbent was defeated as first time candidate Keri Denney defeated Jacob Cammon 174-68 with John Gentry placing third with 35 votes.
Cammon had held the seat since 2010 when he won and took over the spot left open when now Chairman Lee Boone did not seek re-election. Denney stated after the vote was in that she wants to be a positive leader.
“I’m just very humbled by the turnout and the people that came out to vote for me. I will just do my very best to do what is right every time and serve the citizens of district two and Heard County,” Denney said late Tuesday.
Denney spoke about one of the big issues of concern she wants to address while in office. “I want to look at the long term effects of the lack of coal at Georgia power and what it is going to do to our taxes. I think that is a a huge issue that people keep pushing away thinking it is not going to happen but it is… I mean natural gas burns and it costs money and we do make money off that but the bottom line is that coal is a big money maker for Heard County,” she said.
“I am a taxpayer and I own property in Heard County… That really concerns me. I have a 12-year old son — where are we going to be in 20 years? I am not looking at if I get re-elected in four years, I’m looking at doing the best job I can for the four years I am in there. I prayed ‘lord just let it happen like it is supposed to happen’ and that is what I feel like has been done. I want to do positive things and try to work as hard as I can and stay positive.”
Another newcomer to politics Larry Hammond defeated Brannon Gray 161-50 in District Four to take over the seat currently held by long time commissioner Frank Crook who did not seek re-election for another term. Hammond thanked Crook for his help during his campaign.
“I appreciate all the folks in Heard County coming out to vote and I’d like to have seen more people,” Hammond said.
“I want to express my thanks to Mr. Frank Crook because he helped me a lot and advised me on the election. It has been interesting being my first election and the first time I have gotten into politics. I’d like to do some things not for the kids but for the young people in our county… 30% of the county is under 24 and that is going to be one of my focuses.”
In the City of Franklin, the turnout was low for a one item ballot which featured the much talked about alcohol referendum. Despite all of the perceived interest in the vote, only 94 people turned out to the polls including 55 early and absentee voters and only 39 election day poll visitors.
The referendum which would have allowed the serving of distilled spirits in restaurants was defeated 65-29. The issue may not be re-addressed by vote for a minimum of two more years.
Also in the county election, three school board candidates won elections unopposed including a newcomer Ashley Awbrey who takes over District Five from Morris Long who did not seek another term.
Roger Harrod in District Three and Chad Wood in District One held on to their respective seats as incumbents. All local elections were decided without runoffs, and with no Democratic party candidates qualified, all local elections have ended for 2014.