After a very close Republican primary contest between Travis Chance, Toby Conner and Jennifer Campbell Mock for Seat 2-B on the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, Chance and Conner will advance to a runoff June 21. Even that won’t decide who will become the next county commissioner, since the winner will face Democratic candidate Jake Hallman in the Nov. 8 general election.
In the unofficial final vote count Tuesday night, Chance had garnered 2,842 votes, or 37.58% of the total, to Conner’s 2,386 votes, or 31.55%, and Mock’s 2,334 votes, or 30.86%. More than 50% of the vote total was required to win the GOP nomination outright. Meanwhile, Hallman ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination in this race to fill the seat being vacated at year’s end by retiring longtime Commissioner Walter Gibson.
In the one purely local race voted on countywide, incumbent Bulloch County State Court Judge Joseph L. Cushner held on to the judgeship to which he was appointed in March 2020. Cushner received 7,436 votes, or 68.1% of the total, to challenger Michael J. Classens’ 3,484 votes, or 31.9%.
All other purely local contests were decided outright. For the District 4 seat on the Bulloch County Board of Education, retired principal Donna Clifton captured 1,197 votes, or 61% of the district’s total. The incumbent board member, April Newkirk, garnered 627 votes, or 32%, and another challenger, Kathy C. Sherrod, received 138 votes, or 7%. Clifton will replace Newkirk on the board for the new four-year term beginning in January.
But District 5 incumbent BOE member Glennera Martin won a third term on the school board, with 301 votes, or 55% of the district’s total votes cast in the race, to 243 votes, or 45%, for challenger Shontelle Childress.
Incumbent District 6 BOE member Jay Cook is also heading to a third term, after getting 777 votes, or 66.5% of the total cast, to challenger Mary E. Boyer’s 392 votes, or 33.5%, in that district.
The total number of votes in this nonpartisan race, 10,920, shows that almost all Bulloch County voters who turned out for the election voted for one or the other of the State Court judge candidates. Total turnout was reported as 10,940 of Bulloch County’s 44,100 currently registered, active voters, or 27%. In the previous primary with a race for governor on the ballot, in May 2018, Bulloch County’s turnout was only 20% of active-list, registered voters.
Also in the election concluded Tuesday, Elizabeth Y. Williams was elected unopposed to the Board of Education seat from BOE District 2, and so will succeed retiring BOE member Mike Sparks, who currently serves as chair by choice of the other members, in January.
For County Commissioner Seat 1-B, challenger Preston Tutt was unopposed in the Republican primary, and incumbent Commissioner Anthony Simmons was unopposed in the Democratic primary. They will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.
Seat 2-D Commissioner Timmy Rushing was unopposed on the Republican ballot and remains unopposed for re-election in November.
This story will be expanded with additional information, both online and for Thursday’s print edition.