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Sheriff wins without runoff
Local incumbents dominate primaries
Margaret Padrick, Katy Dasher and Leila Morris serve as volunteer poll officers at the Shuman Center poll. They and other election workers reported lighter than expected turnout. - photo by Photo by Jessica Duncan

Incumbents dominated Tuesday’s Democratic primaries in Liberty County, including Sheriff Don Martin winning the party’s nomination without a runoff.
He faced three other candidates in the contest. His 61 percent vote qualifies the former postal worker to face the Republican nominee in the November general election. Mark Floyd won the GOP nod Tuesday.

Martin was first elected in 1992, ousting long time Sheriff R.V. Sikes, and has now been re-elect four times since, including 2004, when he beat one of candidates who challenged him this year with 54 percent of the vote.
During this year’s campaign, Martin deflected concerns about his health with a rigorous schedule of events and campaigning and based his campaign on his record.

Two other local contested races were for seats on the Liberty County Commission and, in both cases, incumbents won. Chairman or District 7, which covers the entire county, was won by John McIver, who was challenged by former Commissioner Linda Graham. In District 4, incumbent Pat Bowen beat out political newcomer Larry Boggs. 

Here are the preliminary results:


Martin, 2,930, 61%
Warren Waye, 1,356, 28%
J.T. Jones, 316, 6%
Jerald Jones, 166, 3%
Mark Floyd, 333, 76%
Richard White, 104, 24%

County Commission
Chairman (Dist. 7) Democrat

(I) John McIver, 2,830, 64%
Linda Graham, 1,579, 36%

Dist. 4 Democrat
(I) Pat Bowen, 728, 74%
Larry Boggs, 256, 26%

These numbers are with 93 percent of the vote counted. The remainder are provisional votes that are yet to be authorized. Election officials are to canvas ballots Wednesday morning.


Turnout light

Editor's note: This was written Tuesday afternoon, while polls were still open.

Tuesday's primary election was, in the words of several poll managers and Ella Golden,
election superintendent, "slow." By Liberty County's 4 p. m. count, only 2,543 people had voted, which is 12.4 percent of the county's registered voters.
Barbara Ford, poll manager at the 11th Precinct Lewis Fraser poll, said that voters came in "slow but steady," and that there were significantly fewer voters than she had anticipated. "I certainly expected more."
At the 12th Precinct Pre-K facility, Beverly Gross had an equally reluctant crowd. "Yeah, things have been slow. For the last sheriff election, there was definitely a lot more interest in voting," said Gross, who served
as the poll manager and who said that by
12:45 p. m., the facility had only had 65 voters. Partly to blame, in Gross's opinion, was the construction and resulting closure of Washington Street, which had been, in previous years, the main means of access to the Pre-K poll. "It's because of Washington Street. People have to come all the way around to get to us now," she said.
LaFayne May, poll manager at the Shuman Center facility, had a different reason for the day's slowness. "We used to have a better crowd than we have today, but I think a lot of them have done early voting," she said. May reported 114 voters by the early afternoon, which, she said, was "slow, especially by this time of day."
1,308 Liberty County residents voted in the early election, which brings voter totals, as of the county's 4 p. m. count, up to 3,851. At 18.8% of the registered voter population, Liberty County's turnout falls far below Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel's projected state turnout of 30%.
"It is a primary, and sometimes primaries are slow," Golden said as she reviewed voter numbers. "And remember that it's summertime." She said, also, that she was satisfied with the county's voter turnout. "I can't say no because people are out voting."

— Jessica Duncan, Courier intern



This will be a developing story through the day, so check back. 

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