Oconee County voters on Tuesday decided to increase the tax they pay at cash registers in the county from 7 percent to 8 percent starting in April.
The vote was close to a mirror image of that of a year ago, with 51.3 percent voting in favor of the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Last November, 52.8 percent had voted against the tax.
Turnout on Tuesday was 74.5 percent of active voters. Last November, it had been 10.7 percent.
In the only two contested races on the Oconee County ballot, Republican Incumbent Amy Parrish soundly defeated Independent Ryan Repetske and Republican Ryan Hammock defeated Independent Melissa Eagling by nearly the same margin.
Incumbent Republican Brian Kemp received nearly three quarters of the vote (73.7) percent) in Oconee County in the governor’s race, and Republican Herschel Walker received nearly two thirds of the vote (65.9 percent) in the U.S. Senate race.
Walker’s vote percentage in Oconee was the lowest of any Republican on the ballot. Incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock received 31.4 percent of the vote, the highest for any Democratic candidate.
Incumbent Republican Marcus Wiedower and Incumbent Republican Houston Gaines both received just less than three quarters of the votes cast in Oconee County.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Bill Cowsert did just slightly less well.
Mike Collins, the Republican party candidate in the open 10th Congressional District, also sailed to victory in Oconee County.
Oconee County commissioners made the decision to put the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) back on the ballot in the hopes that the higher turnout would produce a different result from last year.
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The tax, which will be on all purchases, except for gasoline, will be offset by a 1 mill reduction in property taxes.
Money will be used for road paving, multi use paths, and intersection improvements. The tax will expire in five years unless renewed.
The TSPLOST referendum was the final item on a lengthy ballot, but 21,713 of the 22,518 voters who cast a ballot in Tuesday’s election made their way down the ballot to vote on the tax referendum.
The referendum received majority support in six of the county’s eight precincts, with its highest rate of approval in the City Hall Precinct (53.4 percent) and Civic Center Precinct (53.0 percent)
The referendum was rejected in the Colham Ferry Precinct (46.7 percent voting in favor) and Bogart Precinct (49.9 percent in favor).
Board Of Education
Parrish defeated Repetske, 78.3 percent to 21.7 percent, which is a greater margin than she had in 2018 when she ran against Democrat Andrea Wellnitz.
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Parrish received 73.6 percent of the vote that year, to Wellnitz’s 26.5 percent.
In 2018, Kim Argo defeated Democrat Fran Thompson, 73.3 to 26.7 for Post 3. Argo moved to Board Chair when Tom Odom stepped down less than a year after his re-election in 2020.
Hammock received 76.8 percent of the Oconee County vote to 23.2 percent for Eagling.
Parrish and Hammock received the highest percent of votes in the county, meaning they likely picked up some support from voters who picked Democrats in other races.
Democrat Charlie Bailey received 28.0 percent of the vote in the county, and Democrat Tabitha Johnson-Green received 27.3 in the 10th Congressional race.
In 2020, Democrat Joan Parker received 29.6 percent of the vote against Republican Michael Ransom in the Post 5 Board of Education Race, and Democrat Laura Williams Ormes received 28.5 percent against Republican Tim Burgess in the Post 4 contest.
Johnson-Green received 27.3 percent of Oconee County’s vote in the open 10th Congressional District race to 72.7 for Mike Collins.
In 2020, Johnson-Green had received 29.0 percent of the Oconee County vote against incumbent Republican Jody Hice. In 2018, she received 28.5 percent of the Oconee County vote, also against Hice.
Cowsert on Tuesday received 73.2 percent of the vote to Democrat Andrew Ferguson’s 26.8 percent.
Cowsert received 71.5 percent of the Oconee County vote against Democrat Zachary Perry in 2020 and 71.9 percent of the vote against Democrat Marisue Hilliard in 2018.
Wiedower has a larger part of Oconee County in the newly redistricted 121 state House District than he had when he won in 2020 and 2018 in his current 119th House Disrict.
On Tuesday, Wiedower received 73.8 percent of the vote in Oconee County to Democrat Jeff Auerbach’s 26.2 percent.
In 2020, Wiedower defeated Jonathan Wallace with 71.6 percent of the vote to Wallace’s 28.4 percent. In 2018, Wiedower defeated Wallace 71.0 percent to 29.0 percent.
On Tuesday, Gaines received 74.5 percent of the vote in the two precincts in Oconee County in the 120th House District, Bogart and Marswood Hall. Democrat Mokah Jasmine Johnson received 25.5 percent.
In 2020, Gaines defeated Johnson, 72.2 percent to 27.8 percent in Oconee County, and in 2018, Gaines defeated Deborah Gonzalez 69.6 percent to 30.4 percent in the parts of the county in his district.
Kemp's 73.7 percent of Oconee County's vote on Tuesday against Democrat Stacey Abrams compared with his vote of 69.8 against Abrams in 2018.
Turnout at 74.5 percent was lower than the 75.5 percent turnout in 2018 and the 84.5 percent in 2020.