Long County voters decided whether 10 incumbents might get to keep their jobs during Tuesday’s primary election, including the office of sheriff, clerk of superior court, tax commissioner, public service commissioners, county commissioners for districts 1, 2 and 5, and board of education seats for districts 2 and 4.
Long County Board of Elections Chairwoman Vanessa Cunningham, who emphasized the election results released by her office were not yet official, said about 39 percent of Long County’s nearly 6,700 registered voters cast ballots for the primary election.
Sheriff hopeful Darrell Ballance ran unopposed for the Republican ticket, while Frank McClelland and James Rogers challenged Democrat incumbent Sheriff Craig Nobles.
Nobles won the nod with 62 percent of the votes.
Nobles was appointed in January to fill the office of sheriff after his father died of cancer. Cecil Nobles served as Long County Sheriff for about 42 years.
Other Democrat incumbents fighting for their offices included Frank Middleton, who was challenged by Sherry Long for clerk of superior court. Unofficial results showed Long winning, 1,115 to 1,100.
“We won’t know the official results until late Friday afternoon,” said Cunningham, who added that any decision about a recount would have to wait until then.
Deona Carter challenged incumbent Becky Fowler for tax commissioner. Fowler, who won with 73.43 percent of the vote, will be unchallenged on the November ballot.
Public service commission Republican incumbents Chuck Eaton and Stan Wise maintained their seats, although Eaton will be challenged in November by Democrat Stephen Oppenheimer.
It wasn’t a good night for incumbent county commissioners, who lost their seats to fellow Democrat challengers.
Incumbent District 1 commissioner David Richardson lost his seat to Gerald Blocker; District 2 commissioner Wallace Shaw lost his seat to Robert Long; and District 5 commissioner Bobby Walker lost his seat to Dwight Gordon.
1st District U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., ran unopposed, while Democrats Lesli Rae Messinger and Nathan Russo battled each other to see who will challenge Kingston in November.
Russo won the Democrat primary with 55.58 percent of the votes.
Although no Democrat challenger will face the winner this fall, Republicans Jeff Chapman and John Tuten vied for the 167th district’s state representative seat. Tuten won with 51.39 percent of the vote.
In nonpartisan races, Long County Board of Education District 2 representative Dempsy Golden was challenged by Carolyn Williamson, and District 4 member Linda DeLoach was challenged by former Long County Superintendant Janet Watford. Golden held onto her seat, while Watford won District 4 with 53.73 percent of the vote.
Voters also decided on a number of referendums, including the T-SPLOST. In Long County, 1,420 voters supported the referendum, while 1,030 voted against it.
According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, only four of the 10 counties in the coastal Georgia district supported the T-SPLOST referendum. The four in favor were Long, Liberty, Bryan and Screven.