Local elections held in Decatur County

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2016


By Powell Cobb and Brandon O’Connor

Local campaigns came to a head Tuesday night in the Primary Election.

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Superior Court Judge candidates Ryan Cleveland and Heather Hendricks Lanier will be entering a runoff election that will take place July 26. Cleveland finished with 4,089 votes across Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Grady and Mitchell counties. Lanier had 4,046, and Mike Bankston had 3,570 votes across the five counties.

“Heather ran a really tough campaign, and I look forward to facing her,” Cleveland said. “We have a lot in common, but enough distinguishing factors that will come out in the runoff. She is a formidable opponent, but I look forward to keeping the focus on the issues of the court, and keep it about how to improve the court system and keep the dignity of the judiciary.

Lanier said, “I made a promise when I started I was going to run a campaign worthy of the position. I am proud that I’ve never run a campaign before and I came in and ran against someone who has run multiple campaigns and has name recognition. I ended up 43 votes from first place. Thank you to everyone who honored me by giving me their vote and helped me.”

Bankston was not available for comment.

Incumbent Maggie Rentz Smith won the Chief Magistrate Election with 3,669 votes. Dan Stone had 1,305 votes.

“I am very proud of our team, my family and my friends and our supporters,” Rentz said. “Every person that put in time and effort and resources into this. We worked really hard and met a lot of people and I’m just so thankful to the voters of Decatur County for having the confidence in me that they have shown tonight. My opponent and I both ran what I think is a clean race and I’m proud of that too.

Stone said, “Thank you to all my supporters. Let’s get behind our new magistrate and wish her the best.”

Wiley Griffin was re-elected as Decatur County Sheriff with 2,138 votes. David Cutchin had 1,838 votes.

“I’m appreciative of all the people that helped in this election,” Griffin said. “I thank the citizens of Decatur County for having the confidence in the employees of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office and myself and we’ll strive to make Decatur County Sheriff’s Office a very professional sheriff’s office in the future.”

Cutchin said, “I congratulate Wiley, and I thank all of my supporters.”

Mark Harrell won the Democratic tax commissioner primary with 2,140 votes. Don Belcher, the incumbent, had 1,790 votes. Harrell will face Oliver Seller, who won the Republican primary as an unopposed candidate, in the November General Election.

“I was overwhelmed,” Harrell said. “I appreciate everybody in the county who voted for me. I want to give credit to Mr. Belcher. It was a good, honest, clean race. Now I look forward to November. I appreciated everybody that voted.”

Belcher declined to comment.

Cecilia Willis was re-elected as Clerk of Courts with 2,896 votes. Revonn Miller had 946 votes.

“I am thankful for the confidence in the voters, and I am looking forward to the next four years and the changes we are going to make together,” Willis said.

Miller could not be reached for comment.

Steve Brock won the election for county commissioner, district 2 with 304 votes. Doug Griffin had 84 votes.

“I’m thrilled that the county saw fit to elect me,” Brock said. “I hope I can do the job that is expected of me. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without the help of my family and friends.”

Griffin declined to comment.

Kenny Hollis was re-elected coroner with 2,587 votes. Sonja Noble had 1,266 votes.

“I would just like to thank all the voters who voted for me,” Hollis said.

Noble said, “Thank you and I appreciate all of the support that was given to me.”