When the smoke cleared from the ballots late Tuesday night, there was one clear winner on the Republican side for Sheriff, and two runoffs set for August 21. Out of 16,365 registered voters in Upson County, 42.64 percent, or 6,978 cast votes.
Chief Deputy Dan Kilgore ran away with the Republican nomination for Upson County Sheriff, easily defeating his three opponents with 65.08 percent of the votes cast, or 3,250 votes. Sam Baity was the closest to him with 19.38 percent, or 968 votes. Glen Collins had 11.47 percent, or 573 votes, and Davy Storey had 4.06 percent, or 203 votes.
Kilgore will face Democratic nominee Jeffery Little in November. Little won the two-man race on the Democratic side with 70.17 percent, or 1,207 votes, to Nason Blackwell’s 29.83 percent, or 513 votes.
In the race for Upson County Probate Judge, Incumbent Danielle McRae and challenger Marc Ellington will face each other again in a runoff on Aug. 21. When all the votes were tallied, McRae held a 54-vote lead over Ellington. McRae collected 40.98 percent of the vote, or 2,756 votes, to Ellington’s 40.17 percent, or 2,702 votes. T. Larry Dawson had 10.99 percent, or 739 votes, and Harry Thiel had 7.85 percent, or 528 votes.
There was also not a clear winner in the special election to fill the remaining term of former District 3 County Commissioner Rusty Blackston, who resigned to run for Commission Chairman. Ralph Ellington led the voting with 32.61 percent, or 508 votes. His closest competition was Joel Pitts with 18.74 percent, or 292 votes. Ellington and Pitts will face off in a runoff on August 21, according to Election Board Chairman Robert Haney. Pitts barely beat Norman Allen for the runoff spot. Allen had 18.49 percent, or 288 votes, just four votes behind Pitts. Sylvia Winters-Chapman had 15.40 percent, or 240 votes, and Brandon Creamer has 14.44 percent, or 225 votes.
Upson County barely approved the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) vote, with 51.77 percent, or 3,487 Yes votes, to 48.23 percent or 3.248 No votes. But TPLOST lost overall in the 10-county Three Rivers Regional Commission with 69.28 percent voting No, and 35.30 percent voting Yes. Of the 12 regional commissions in the state voting on TSPLOST, the issue passed in only three districts - Central Savannah River Area District, composed of 13 counties; River Valley District, composed of 16 counties; and Heart of Georgia Altamaha District, composed of 17 counties.
In other local and state races on the Republican ballot:
- Coroner: Incumbent James George buried challenger Craig Stubbs. George collected 68.26 percent, or 3,258 votes, to Stubbs’ 31.74 percent, or 1,515 votes. George will run unopposed in November.
- Commission Chair: Rusty Blackston defeated Anthony South. Blackston took 55.24 percent , or 2,632 votes, to South’s 44.76 percent, or 2,133 votes. Blackston will face Democratic incumbent Maurice Raines in November.
- Commission, District 2: Incumbent Steve Hudson easily beat challenger Heather Rush. Hudson collected 62.33 percent, or 1,125 votes, to Rush’s 37.67 percent, or 680 votes. Hudson has no Democratic opposition in November.
- U. S. House, District 3: Incumbent Lynn Westmoreland easily won in Upson County, taking 73.98 percent, or 3,542 votes. Kent Kingsley had 13.22 percent, or 633 votes, and Chip Flanegan had 12.80 percent, or 613 votes. Westmoreland won the district by almost the same margin with 71.63 percent. Flanegan finished with 14.53 percent and Kingsley with 13.84 percent. Westmoreland does not have Democratic opposition in November.
- State Senate, District 18: Spencer Price won Upson County with 62.88 percent, or 3,007 votes. Incumbent Cecil Staton had 37.12 percent, or 1,775 votes. The race was almost a dead heat in the district, with Staton maintaining a slight margin with 50.50 percent to Price’s 49.50 percent, a difference of 207 votes. It is not known at this time if Price will request a recount. The winner will not have Democratic opposition in November.
- State House, District 131: Johnnie Caldwell won Upson County with 55.93 percent, or 2,721 votes. Ryan Christopher had 44.07 percent, or 2,144 votes. Caldwell won the district with a 51.80 percent margin to Christopher’s 48.20 percent.
On the Democratic ballot:
- Commission, District 1: Lorenzo Wilder defeated George Carriker. Wilder had 55.91 percent, or 497 votes, to Carriker’s 44.09, 0r 392 votes. Wilder does not have Republican opposition in November.
In other Non-Partisan races:
- Chief Magistrate: Incumbent Danny Bentley easily won reelection with 70.91 percent, or 4,742 votes, to challenger Terry Salter’s 28.97 percent, or 1,937 votes.
- Board of Education, District 5: Incumbent Leon Fowler defeated challenger William Roberts. Fowler had 66.46 percent, or 862 votes, to Roberts’ 33.23 percent, or 431 votes.
- Board of Education, District 7: Incumbent Terrell Jackson held off challenger Bryan Trickel to win. Jackson had 51.38 percent, or 522 votes, to Trickel’s 48.62 percent, or 494 votes.