Stafford loses re-election

Published 11:06 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Incumbent District 3 Commissioner Charles Stafford lost his re-election bid, while incumbent District 5 Commissioner Russell Smith survived a tough primary challenge.

Incumbent District 3 Decatur County Commissioner Charles Stafford failed in his bid for re-election Tuesday night, while incumbent District 5 Commissioner Russell Smith survived his primary opponent and will face Republican Terry Ellis in the November general election.

Stafford, who currently serves as chairman of the Board of Commissioners, lost to challenger Dennis Brinson. Brinson, who owns Classic Designs Barber and Beauty Salon on North Scott Street in Bainbridge, defeated Stafford by a count of 357 votes to 222.

“I just want to express my thanks to all of the citizens of District 3 and Decatur County who supported me,” Brinson said. “I’m looking forward to joining the board and doing my part to help bring jobs to our county. I’m excited to get a chance to work with the rest of the board members.”

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Stafford said that he believes Brinson will be an effective representative. Brinson will take office Jan. 1, 2013.

“I think the public has certainly spoken tonight,” he said. “I hope that my successor will be an effective commissioner, and I certainly believe that he will. I know that if he gets the same support that I had, that he will be able to continue moving the county forward.”

Smith, the vice chairman of the Board of Commissioners, defeated Democratic primary challenger Max Bryant, by a count of 301 votes to 283.

“I told Max that I appreciate that we both were able to run a clean race,” Smith said. “We didn’t have to be negative about each other. I know I’ve got to get back to work for the November election; I was just trying to take it one election at a time.

“I want to thank everyone who supported me and who helped me.”

Bryant said it was a “hard-fought” campaign and he appreciated his voters’ support.

Incumbent Sheriff Wiley Griffin earned a new term, defeating Democratic primary challenger Brock Washington, 2,646 votes to 1,213 votes.

“It was a clean race,” Griffin said. “I appreciate what the employees of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office have accomplished over the last 13 years. I thank the voters for turning out and choosing the sheriff they wanted to represent them.”

In races for the Decatur County Board of Education, Kelvin Bouie defeated Debbie Elkins, 415 votes to 243, for the District 1 seat.

“I’m excited to start serving,” said Bouie, who will join the board in August, as he is replacing Clarissa Kendrick, who resigned prior to the completion of her term. “Thanks to everyone who supported me.”

The District 3 race was close enough to force a runoff election — incumbent Winston Rollins finished with 257 votes, George Washington had 210 votes and Michele Miller finished with 179 votes.
Rollins and Washington will take part in a run-off on Aug. 21.

Decatur County voters also had their say in the T-SPLOST referendum, which would have added a one cent sales tax for local and regional projects. County voters overwhelmingly voted “no” to the new tax, with 2,919 votes against it and 1,552 votes for it.

As of press time, at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the measure was also failing in the Southwest Region, which included Decatur County. The vote at that time was 57 percent “no” and 43 percent “yes.”

In the Town of Brinson, Jesse Powell defeated Herman Hatton, 39-24, in a special election to fill the Town Council seat that had been held by Franklin Faircloth, who died April 10.

In the race for the U.S. Congressional 2nd District Republican candidate, Decatur County voters overwhelmingly supported Columbus businessman Rick Allen. Allen had 292 votes, while John House had 164 votes and Ken DeLoach had 151 votes.

With about half of the 2nd District’s precincts reporting Tuesday night, Allen led with 40.4 percent, followed by House with 31.2 percent and DeLoach with 28.4 percent. Allen and House are likely headed for a runoff.