Former Oconee County Commissioner W.E. “Bubber” Wilkes unseated incumbent Margaret Hale in the Republican primary runoff for Post 3 on the Board of Commissioners today, with 51.2 percent of the 4,253 votes cast.
Wilkes will have no opposition in November, meaning he will return to the Commission after an absence of 10 years.
|Shumate And Davis With Results|
Hale has served for 14 years and is the only woman on the Commission.
Oconee County Republicans also favored Jack Kingston over David Perdue in the U.S. Senate runoff, Mike Collins over Jody Hice in the U.S. House District 10 runoff, and Michael Buck over Richard Woods in the runoff for State School Superintendent.
Oconee County Democratic voters preferred Valarie Wilson over Alisha Thomas Morgan in the runoff for that party’s nominee for State School Superintendent.
Turnout for the runoff in Oconee County was down from the May 20 primary, with 20.9 percent of the county’s 21,985 registered voters casting a ballot.
In May, 23.4 percent of the 21,964 persons registered to vote actually did so.
Hale received 41.6 percent of the vote in the May primary, followed by Wilkes’ 37.6 percent and 20.8 percent for Maria Caudill.
Only 132 persons asked for the Democratic ballot for the runoff, or 2.7 percent of the votes cast. In May, 3.0 percent of the votes cast were with the Democratic ballot.
Hale did better with voters who went to the polls today, losing by only 66 voters. She lost by 171 votes among those who voted early, either in person or by mail.
Hale and her husband, Michael, were at the Board of Elections and Registration Office next door to the courthouse in Watkinsville as results were being tabulated tonight.
Wilkes, according to Franklin Shumate, was at his home.
Shumate, long active in county civic affairs, called Wilkes with the results as they came in during the night.
“It’s over. You won,” he said when he called Wilkes at 8:40 p.m.
Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis also was at the election office.
Wilkes campaigned saying he would like to go back to the strong chairman system that was in place for the last phase of his 20 years on the Commission.
Wilkes was defeated by Chuck Horton in 2004, and Horton, with Hale, John Daniell and Jim Luke, changed the organizational chart in the county in 2009 to provide all of the commissioners equal access to and control over the work of the county administrative officer and finance director.
Davis objected to those changes.
Horton has been replaced by Mark Saxon, who has voted against Hale, Daniell and Luke in recent challenges to Davis.
Davis votes only in the case of a tie, so the votes of Saxon and Wilkes will give him the chance to regain his control over the day-to-day activities of the county.
Other Vote Totals
Kingston got 53.8 percent of the vote in the county, to 46.2 percent for Perdue
Collins got 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent by Hice.
Buck took 55.0 percent of the vote, with 45.0 percent going to Woods.
Wilson got 63.1 percent of the vote, to 36.9 percent for Morgan.