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Lee Re-Elected Cobb Commission Chairman

The incumbent won by less than 1,300 votes; Woody Thompson lost his South Cobb Commission seat.

Tuesday's Republican Party runoff for Cobb Commission Chairman was expected to be very close.

Incumbent Tim Lee knew were precarious because of his support for a property tax increase in 2011 and the TSPLOST referendum that went down in flames last month.

While awaiting the returns of his runoff battle with Bill Byrne, Lee anxiously noted that Eldrin Bell in Clayton County and B.J. Mathis in Henry County, two of his counterparts in metro Atlanta, went down to defeat, in large part because of anti-TSPLOST sentiment.

And after falling behind in early returns, Lee's once-relaxed demeanor became more focused. At one point he privately huddled with his wife Annette, as they embraced and spoke intently in a ballroom at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Kennesaw.

But as the election-day voting tally rolled in, Lee overcame Byrne, and gradually added to his slim margins to win by 1,295 votes.

The final, unofficial results show that Lee collected 14,309 votes, or 52.3 percent, to 13,014 votes for Byrne, or 47.6 percent.

Lee was elected in 2010 to fill the unexpired term of Sam Olens, now the Georgia Attorney General. Since there is no Democratic candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot, Lee will begin serving a full four-year term in January.

Although he had not heard from Byrne late Tuesday, Lee offered victory remarks to campaign supporters. After profusely thanking his wife, his religious faith, campaign supporters and staff, Lee finally breathed a sigh of relief.

"We're calling it a win, although Mr. Byrne hasn't called, not that I would expect him to," Lee said. "But we're going to home and get some rest and start working together tomorrow to move Cobb forward."

Lee also thanked another key supporter, Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, with whom he served on the Atlanta Regional Roundtable that selected the projects for inclusion in the unpopular T-SPLOST referendum. 

"It was a real good possibility that we could have gotten caught up in that sweep," Lee said of the other incumbents who lost Tuesday. "I think the reason we won tonight is that we offered a clear plan for the future and a great team of supporters to get out the vote."

Byrne, the Cobb Commission Chairman from 1992-2002, forced Lee into a runoff in a four-candidate primary on July 31 by hitting the incumbent . 

In a heated runoff campaign, Byrne proposed plan but that was largely panned. Lee reminded voters of Byrne's past tenure on the commission, including his vote 19 years ago.

While Byrne won the majority of advance and absentee ballots, Lee won the turnout battle on Tuesday, as he prevailed by more than 2,100 election-day votes.

"I wish him well and hopes he brings together the board and takes them in a positive way as we work our way out of this recession," Byrne told The Marietta Daily Journal late Tuesday. He also told the newspaper he planned to stay politically active in Cobb Republican circles.

Lee said his immediate objectives are to address economic development, jobs, transportation and county budget matters.

Thompson routed in South Cobb

One Cobb incumbent will not be returning to the County Commission. Woody Thompson was defeated soundly by Austell civic activist Lisa Cupid in a Democratic runoff. There is no Republican candidate in Novemer.

Cupid, 35, a political newcomer and a Georgia State University graduate student, won with 3,065 votes, or 75 percent of the vote. Thompson, 65, who has served on the commission in two different tenures as a Republican and as a Democrat, had only 988 votes, or 25 percent.

 has more on the District 4 Commission race. 

Women win court races

Marsha Lake defeated Larry Burke in a non-partisan runoff for Judge of the Cobb State Court. 

Lake had 19,206 votes, or 61 percent, to 12,327 votes, or 39 percent, for Burke. She succeeds Rolland Castellanos, who unsuccessfully ran for Cobb Superior Court Judge.

Rebecca Keaton won the Republican runoff for Cobb Superior Court Clerk, easily downing John Skelton. 

Keaton, who succeeds the retiring Jay Stephenson, had 16,347 votes, or 62 percent, to Skelton's 10,007 votes, or 38 percent. 

She has no Democratic opponent in November. 

School board, legislative runoffs settled

Brad Wheeler has won the right to face Post 7 Democratic incumbent Alison Bartlett for a seat on the Cobb Board of Education in November. 

Wheeler, a retired Cobb schools administrator, won the Republican runoff Tuesday by capturing 2,268 votes, or 54 percent, to 1,903 votes, or 46 percent, for Larry Darnell. The district includes portions of West Cobb.

In the State House District 41 Democratic runoff, Michael Smith won with 577 votes, or 61 percent, to 364 votes, or 39 percent, for Diana Eckles.

He will face Republican Phil Daniell in November for the right to represent a district that covers an area between Smyrna and Marietta.

Cunningham August 22, 2012 at 03:11 AM
What a relief...Bill Byrne was a joke - his only claim to fame was the anti-gay resolution and the miserable failure of a composting-supposedly-for-profit plant that sucked the county dry and waftd relentless odors across the nearby n'hoods.
Pam J August 22, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Thank goodness. Bill Byrne scares me. I'm a Democrat, but since I don't have one to vote for, Mr. Lee is okay. At least he hasn't screwed too many things up.
Inside-Out August 22, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Atleast Bill Byrne never had to furlough Public Safety and put our entire community at risk. We have four more years of his lackluster performance to look forward to.
repubnut August 22, 2012 at 09:47 AM
Lee is one of the "GOOD" ole boys that will stick it to the property owners of this county--thank the riches of east Cobb because they will get the benefit of this election !!!
SmyrnaCitizen August 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Huge loss for Cobb County. If Bill Byrne scares you, I can't imagine what Tim Lee does. Get out your wallets... Lee's going to put his hand in it and take all your money.
your own luck August 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I agree with you completely.
John A Delves August 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM
440,000 for a job that pays 125,000 How does that figure?
John A Delves August 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM
actually you are wrong. Byrne had ten years in office and never raised taxes, he reduced the millage rate time and time again, he pushed the floating eveluations/and assessed tax rates, he had money to spare which was put into reserve, he never did lay off a single public service ( law enforcement) employee and he took a stand on a very contraversial issue. He was the right person at the right ime for the right job. Was he a little tough and hard driven, yes but that was what was needed at the time.
John A Delves August 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Pam, thats funny, really funny. You have Obama in the white house and you are talking about Bill Byrne scaring you? Thats really funny.
Ol' Pete August 22, 2012 at 01:16 PM
No different from the amount your guy, and our esteemed State Attorney General Sam Olens (whom I did support and continue to do so) did for his job, Mr. Delves. Is it okay for Sam, but not okay for Tim, to raise more money than what the job they are seeking pays? That's the way of the political world! Get over it -- Byrne lost, and so did every other candidate you supported in the runoff!
Jane Turnipseed August 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM
This election clearly left Cobb Voters in a no-win situation.....between the Devil & Deep Blue Sea....between a Rock & a Hard Spot. Property owners & Taxpayers are the losers either way!!
Cobb Loyalist August 22, 2012 at 02:08 PM
QUIT WHINING! Cobb is still the best place to live, work and play. Do you not realize the massive devaluation of housing in this country? Do you not realize this is where the majority of our county budget comes from? So, you have to pay an extra $100 this year on your taxes...boo hoo. We could shutter every county facility, never mow the medians again, and lay off some fire and police workers. If that's what you want...there are plenty of affordable homes in Clayton County for sale.
tamaratattles August 22, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Honestly? I'm just glad that Tim Lee's campaign will finally stop blowing up my phone with negativity.
C.J. August 22, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I'm glad that Tim Lee won, despite the fact that the economic crash left him in a "no win" situation. He sought to cut library services, senior centers, administrative services, and elsewhere, but people complained. So, to restore some lost revenues caused by falling property values he voted to raise the millage rate ever-so-slightly. Even after this small increase, we're paying lower county property taxes than we did before the housing crash. The bottom line is that fickle voters complain when their elected representatives cut spending to save money and they complain when their representatives raise taxes to pay for the investments that voters insist on. We don't need better politicians. We need better voters.
Atlanta Owner August 22, 2012 at 07:28 PM
While I'll be the first to admit that Lee can be extremely "goofy" at times, I was proud to NOT vote for Bill Byrne. I have been a long time Cobb resident, and I fully remember the circus that Byrne and his cronies brought down on Cobb County in the mid-1990s with that "anti-gay resolution" they went out of their way to pass so publicly. I'm not gay and it had no direct effect on my personal life that they decided to show bigotry toward others. I'm content to not be a bigot and those who are have to live in their own skin. However, that act allegedly cost Cobb millions of dollars in business through every thing from boycotts, to businesses that avoided locating in Cobb because of the image it represented immediately following that "show". It even caused the Olympic Committee to remove sports venues from Cobb, and reroute the torch relay out of Cobb as well - once again, costing our economy tons of money as a result. The image that brought to us lasted for years, and while the fire died out years ago, there are still hot embers left over. No, we certainly do NOT need people like Byrne in a public office again. Cobb needs to look forward to 2050, not back to 1950. And if our choices are limited to a goofball, or a bigot, I'll pick the goofball. Sorry.
lowbar August 22, 2012 at 08:58 PM
With an overwhelming defeat of the T-SPLOST and a very close election with another Republican maybe Mr. Lee will get the message.
Hard August 22, 2012 at 09:14 PM
You are so right. I had to hold my nose to vote for ol' Bill but I figured he was the lesser of two evils. Now we must remind Tim Lee that he is accountable to the voters.
Stan Kaady August 23, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Primary Run-off elections are an interesting thing. Here we had two situations where two Repubs were vying for Commission Chair with no Dem's in the wings. South Cobb had two Dems vying for the same seat with no Republicans to running that seat. Whoever wins in the Primary Run-Off is now the new Chair and Commissioner, respectively. So, one shows up at the polls, has to vote as they did in the Primaries. In my case, I took the Democratic ballot in the Primary so I could vote for my County Commissioner. In the run-off, I had to choose the same party ballot. By doing so, as a South Cobb resident, I was not permitted to vote or have a say who in the Commission Chair race. I don't know why the run-off elections can not be set up where if a voter, depending on their location in the county, can vote for candiates from another Party, if the run-off is the final factor in who wins that race. Yes, I know, it's the law. But, IMV, on the County level, it's not so much about voting along party lines as it is voting for the best person the job. Not eloquently put, but I hope you get my point.
Jim Hobson August 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Find me a guy who has a wife, has school aged children, is buying his home, owns a small business and is active in his faith - then I'll show you someone that is vested in this community and worthy of votes.
Craig Harfoot September 22, 2012 at 02:58 AM
You now have a choice, CRAIG HARFOOT is the only person with enough faith to qualify as a Write in candidate. On Nov 6th. Touch the write in box, an onscreen keyboard will appear, type in Craig Harfoot. Do nothing and the campaign donors will get our tax money as Return On Investment. It cost them over $450,000 to engineer his re-election. Tell everyone you know they still have a choice. If you elect me I will serve you. I am only spending enough money to give you the tools to easily spread the word. There will be no campaign debt for the usual donors to buy me out of. I know if you tell every one and write me in I owe everything to you for making it happen. Thank you CraigHarfoot@gmail.com
Craig Harfoot September 22, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Thank you for the opportunity.
Craig Harfoot September 27, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Craig Harfoot write in candidate for Chairman for Cobb Commission Chairman. Tim Lee has not won yet! You still have a choice! I am happy to announce that if you go to you tube and type in Craig Harfoot in the search box you will see an easy novel way to spread the word that you still have a choice on Nov 6th.
Craig Harfoot September 27, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Craig Harfoot <craigharfoot@gmail.com> 404 454 1059

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