The unofficial election summary report was finally made available to The Gazette a little after 11 p.m. Tuesday at Election Central after a long night of anticipation from local candidates and supporters who had already cleared the building moments earlier.
As the editorial department worked feverishly around 10 p.m. Tuesday to make presstime with partially tallied results, it appeared that the following three races would be up for a runoff between the top two candidates: Steve Wood and D. Gene Scarbrough for sheriff, Chad Alexander and Jeff Gibbs for tax commissioner and Josh Hendrix and Barry L. Cutts for coroner.
Jean Edwards at Election Central confirmed that the unofficial report shows that these six candidates will be in the Republican runoff Aug. 21; polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Early voting will be announced at a later date. Edwards noted that citizens who did not vote during the primary election will have a chance to vote on the Republican ballot, as well as those who already voted as Republican and nonpartisan. However, those who voted on the Democratic ballot during the primary election will not be able to vote in the Republican runoff.
All six candidates were asked about their reaction to the results in their race and their campaigning plans before the upcoming runoff.
The unofficial election summary report shows that Wood received 2,979 votes (39.95 percent) while Scarbrough received 2,326 votes (31.19 percent). Dennis Reese received 2,152 votes (28.86 percent).
Wood and his campaign supporters anticipated a runoff. He told The Gazette, “We feel really good about the results.”
When asked about his plans before the runoff, he stated, “We’re moving forward and are eager to make it happen.”
He said they have already been out in the community talking to citizens about the upcoming runoff, reminding them to return to the polls to cast their vote. He stated that he has a good plan for the sheriff’s office and he’s ready to put it in place.
Scarbrough said he feels good about being in the runoff and now, it’s full steam ahead for Aug. 21.
“We’re in it to win it,” he stated. “I’m very pleased with the turnout of voters.”
He stated that his plans before the runoff includes encouraging citizens to get out and vote. He said he’s pleased with those who did take the time to vote in the primary election.
For tax commissioner, the summary report shows that Alexander received 2,589 votes (36.51 percent) while Gibbs received 1,830 votes (25.80 percent). Steve Bruce received 736 votes (10.38 percent), W.A. “Bubba” Harrison received 497 votes (7.01 percent) and Greg A. Nimmo received 1,440 votes (20.30 percent).
Alexander said, “I’m excited and very pleased with the results. The people of Tifton really spoke volumes in their voting.”
When asked about his plans before the runoff, he stated, “We’re going to keep working harder.”
He added that he’s glad that the race was run in a very clean and ethical fashion.
He said he’s looking forward to the runoff being done in the same manner.
Gibbs stated, “Thank you, voters, for placing your confidence in me. In so many ways, I’ve been preparing for this position all my life. Now I will appreciate your vote in the runoff Aug. 21, as a first-time Jeff Gibbs voter or a repeat. Please give me a call if you would like to talk about the issues.”
When asked about his plans before the runoff, he said, “We’re going to try to educate the public to really look at the skills and experiences of each candidate.”
For coroner, the summary report shows that Hendrix received 2,848 votes (40.07 percent) while Cutts received 2,447 votes (34.43 percent). Daughtry “Doc” Melton received 1,813 votes (25.51 percent).
“I feel very pleased and excited about the results,” Hendrix said.
As far as his plans before the runoff, he stated, “Right now, we’re working together to find out what direction we need to go and what areas to hit to find some extra votes out there.”
He added, “We want to thank everyone who came out to vote and please come out to vote Aug. 21.”
Cutts stated that he’s thrilled with the results for coroner.
“I’m surprised by the turnout and the amount of interest in all the races,” he said.
When asked about his plans before the runoff, he stated, “We’re going to continue to do some things to encourage everyone to come out to the polls and support us.”
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.