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Tuesday's election won’t decide everything
Some runoffs possible July 24; then on to November
vote 2018

Polls will be open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday in Georgia's Democratic and Republican primaries and nonpartisan general election. In Bulloch County, more than 100 poll workers will staff the 16 precinct voting places.

Contests involving only two candidates in the same party or a yes-or-no question, such as the county's transportation sales tax referendum, will almost certainly be decided when the votes are counted Tuesday night. But races involving three or more candidates could send two frontrunners to a July 24 runoff just to decide a party nomination.

Congressional race

One such race is among Robert Ingham of Augusta and Francys Johnson and Trent Nesmith, both of Statesboro, for the Democratic nomination for Georgia's 12th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ingham, a tax preparer, previously ran unsuccessfully for a state Senate seat as well as for school board and county commission seats in Augusta. Johnson, an attorney, Baptist minister and previously Georgia NAACP state president, and Nesmith, a managing partner in American Roofing, are first-time candidates for public office.

That contest appears on the Democratic Party ballot only, while voters choosing the Republican ballot will instead choose between incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Allen and his in-party challenger, Eugene Yu, both of Augusta. Yu sought the congressional seat twice previously when Allen won, in 2014 and 2016. Either Allen or Yu will face the winner from among Ingham, Johnson and Nesmith in the Nov. 6 general election, but a runoff between two of the Democrats is possible first.

State District 160

At  the state House level, only voters choosing the Republican ballot — and those who already did so in early voting — will decide the race between challenger Robert Busbee and incumbent Jan Tankersley for the District 160 seat.

This is a first-time candidacy for Busbee, a Statesboro attorney. Tankersley has served eight years in the Legislature after previous terms in local government. The race does not appear on all Bulloch County GOP ballots, since District 160 includes the southern part of Bulloch plus northern Bryan County.

Tax referendum

One item that does appear on all Bulloch County ballots, in the nonpartisan section, is the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum. A "yes" vote would add a penny tax to fund transportation projects of the county government and the four towns: Statesboro, Brooklet, Portal and Register. Sales taxes on nonexempt items here would then total 8 cents on the dollar, but 4 cents goes to the state.

Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, District 2, which encompasses the larger portion of the county's population, has a Republican-ballot race among challenger Travis Chance, incumbent Walter Gibson and challenger Sid Jones for Seat 2B. The winner Tuesday or July 24 will meet Democratic challenger Adrienne Dobbs on the November ballot.

City District 5

Meanwhile, Statesboro's nonpartisan special election for a new City Council member in District 5 could also result in a runoff. Voters in that district are deciding among Don Armel, Derek Duke and Konrad Godfrey for the city seat after Chance resigned to run for county commissioner. City District 5 voters will need to vote in the city special election line at Pittman Park United Methodist Church and get in a separate line for the state and county election.

Tuesday night's vote count should be decisive for two nonpartisan seats on the Bulloch County Board of Education. BOE District 4 residents are choosing between Adrianne McCollar and April Newkirk after incumbent Steve Hein didn't run again. BOE District 5 will choose either challenger Mary A. Felton or incumbent Glennera Martin.

The race for governor could result in a statewide primary runoff for Republican voters, who have six candidates to choose from after one withdrew. Republican runoffs are also possible for lieutenant governor, secretary of state and insurance commissioner. Democratic primary runoffs are possible for secretary of state, state school superintendent and a Public Service Commission seat.

As always, voters should bring their Georgia driver's license or other valid, government-issued photo ID.

Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones also reminds candidates and supporters that campaigning, including display or distribution of campaign materials, is prohibited inside any polling place and within 150 feet of any polling place.

"That includes T-shirts, caps, pens, bumper stickers, all that good stuff," she said. 

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

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