Down to the wire in local runoff election races
by Hilary Butschek
July 20, 2014 04:00 AM | 3068 views | 5 5 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Weatherford, left, and Bill Byrne squared off in a spirited debate recently in Kennesaw. On Tuesday night, they will learn who has won their heated battle for the District 1 commission seat. <br> Staff/Jeff Stanton
Bob Weatherford, left, and Bill Byrne squared off in a spirited debate recently in Kennesaw. On Tuesday night, they will learn who has won their heated battle for the District 1 commission seat.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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Byrne vs. Weatherford, Cobb Board of Commissioners, District 1

Bob Weatherford and Bill Byrne have traded blows in debates and public comments since they entered the race, but Tuesday night voters will end their competition.

The two face each other in a runoff for the northwest District 1 seat on the Cobb Board of Commissioners being vacated by retiring Commissioner Helen Goreham.

Weatherford said public safety is a top priority, and making sure the Braves’ arrival in Cobb County is a success comes in second.

“We need to utilize all the tools we have to make sure they’re here on time and under budget and no more taxpayer dollars are spent,” Weatherford said.

Byrne said he will also make public safety his top priority if elected. He also said he would insist on keeping county funding away from county Chairman Tim Lee’s proposed bus rapid transit system, which he is “vehemently” against.

“If I’m elected, the power of the chamber of commerce comes to an end, and that’s very significant,” Byrne said. “It’s a transportation concept that the chamber of commerce has embraced for four years that they have put forcefully on the county, and I believe that is wrong.”

Byrne said he will be a better leader on the commission, leaning on his past experience as chairman.

“My opponent has taken the position, he has said that he’s not smart enough to know what’s going on, and he’s going to rely on staff to advise him and that’s just the chamber position talking,” Byrne said.

Weatherford said he thinks his connections in Cobb will help him if elected.

“I believe my management style is best to incorporate all the parts of Cobb County,” Weatherford said.

The winner faces Democrat Derrick Crump in the general election in November, although pundits say the Republican makeup of the district means the race will likely be settled on Tuesday.

Barr vs. Loudermilk, U.S. House of Representatives, District 11

Out of the 57,009 voters in District 11, Barry Loudermilk came in first in the May 20 primary, with 20,862 votes, or 37 percent, followed by Bob Barr with 14,704, or 26 percent.

With no Democrat in the race, the runoff vote is expected to determine the election.

Barr, who served in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2003, said his experience trumps that of former state Sen. Loudermilk.

“One of my top and most immediate priorities will be to use my experience and seniority to ensure defense funding for Lockheed remains in place, and that Dobbins (Air Reserve Base) remains open,” Barr said.

Although Loudermilk has also said ensuring the air base remains open was a priority for him, the goal has been one of Barr’s most repeated objectives in his campaign.

Barr criticized his opponent for his lack of experience in Congress, but Loudermilk said he wants to bring something new to the leadership of the country.

Loudermilk said he wants voters to choose him “to take our message of consistent, conservative, common sense, northwest Georgia values to the halls of Congress.”

Harris vs. Stedman, Cobb County Superior Court Judge

Ann Harris, a senior district attorney who has practiced law in Cobb Superior Court for 19 years, will face Juanita Stedman, who has been a Juvenile Court judge in Cobb County and an assisting Cobb Superior Court judge for 13 years.

Harris won 23,638 votes, or 41 percent, over Stedman, who had 18,334 votes, or 32 percent of the vote in the May 20 primary.

The Cobb Superior Court runoff race will determine the person replacing Judge Jim Bodiford, who will retire at year-end rather than seek what would have been his sixth term on the Cobb bench.

Harris said her position in her campaign has been public safety is a No. 1 priority, and “it begins with the cops and ends in the courtroom.” She said her experience with the court process is her biggest strength.

“I’ve brought that strength and experience in the Superior Court, where I have worked every day, every week, every year for 19 years,” Harris said. “My priority has been to secure justice with fairness and courage, and that’s not going to change on the bench.”

Stedman said her priority has also been to maintain a just rule in the courtroom.

“My top priority has been what it has been as a judge for 14 years, and that’s to never forget that I have to treat all people fairly and that everyone who steps in front of me can have confidence in my integrity.”

Stultz vs. Thayer, Cobb Board of Education, Post 2

Incumbent school board member Tim Stultz is up against Susan Thayer in the runoff for his seat on the board.

During the May 20 Republican primary, Thayer won 1,876 ballots, or 45 percent of the vote, while Stultz took 1,403 votes, or 34 percent of the vote.

Thayer, a consultant with James Wilson’s Education Planners, said she thinks the post is ready for a change because a majority of voters chose someone other than Stultz in the primary.

Thayer has a list of goals: “To remain focused on the important issues of making fiscally sound decisions, increasing student achievement, improving facilities, hiring and retaining highly qualified teachers for our classrooms, strengthening the parent-school partnership and maintaining school safety.”

Stultz said he wants to focus on getting more funding to Cobb schools.

“The top priority is to get the school district in a fiscally efficient state that will allow it to do more with the resources that it has,” Stultz said.

The two candidates differ on one highly debated topic: Common Core standards in schools.

Stultz has long been against the standards, but Thayer said they are a framework that can be adjusted and built upon. She said the issue is too politicized, and the standards will have little impact on the day-to-day learning environment.

North vs. Wigington, Acworth Board of Aldermen, Post 3

Because Bob Weatherford left his seat on the Acworth Board of Aldermen to run for the county commission seat, the city’s Post 3 position is open. Candidates Brett North and Kevin Wigington are in a runoff for the open seat.

In the May 20 primary, North received 519 votes or 40 percent, and Wigington received 540 votes, or 42 percent.

North, the outpatient clinic manager at Life University, said his experience on the city’s planning and zoning board will help him win.

The board is a recommending body that reviews applications — such as land development plans or annexations — and makes recommendations to the aldermen.

North said he is ready to take on the leadership position because his nine years of work on the planning board gave him insight into the process of getting things done in a city government.

“When I’m elected and when I sit down in that seat, I already understand how that works,” North said.

Wigington, who runs the Brookwood Christian School off Wood Street, said his close relationships with the Acworth mayor and other aldermen will help him accomplish his goals if elected.

“I believe it is a most critical ability, because nothing gets done efficiently and effectively at any government service level if its leaders can’t communicate and build consensus,” he said.

Comments
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Divisive Byrne
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July 20, 2014
Should a voter cast their vote for Bill Byrne, they are voting to move the community completely backwards and are voting for someone that would divide the county. He does not work well with anyone and that's why Helen Goreham, all the mayors and city council members endorsed Weatherford. That was quite a strong statement when I found out they were all endorsing Weatherford. The fact that he's so anti- chamber is also very negative because he doesn't realize when he is against them, he's against all the job creation they bring, public safety appreciation programs, Partners in Education, partnership events with our business associations, all they do to help entrepreneurs and small businesses, leadership programs such as Leadership Cobb, Cobb Youth Leadership and Honorary Commanders and all they are doing to help retain Dobbins and protect from the next BRAC. Those voting for Byrne must not remember all that he did to hurt our county during his tenure including losing the Olympics.

Bob Weatherford on the other hand listens to his voters and looks at all sides to an issue before making up his mind. He is consensus builder and has a great proven record in Acworth as a fiscally responsible leader.
Just Wait
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July 20, 2014
Weeks and weeks of listening to the candidates and their rabid supporters. Finally, we will hear what the vast group in the middle have to say.
anonymous
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July 20, 2014
Should a voter decide to cast his/her vote for Bob Weatherford, they are embracing the following items:

1. Support of a new TSPLOST called BRT

(Weatherford loudly championed the 2012 TSPLOST and now unwilling to say not to the BRT.

2. A rubber stamp for Tim Lee and elite members of the Cobb Chamber (over 78% of his campaign donations comes from this old PRO TSPLOST group)

3. A dues paying member Fraternal Order of Police, that was 100% rejected by his fellow police officers (why would his own group reject him? What do they know?)

4. A candidate that claimed fellow candidate (Angela Barner) was on the take because she did not agree with him. (mdj)

5. A man who claimed, in the MDJ, that some of the police are always stirring things up.

6. A city council member of one precinct who makes claim that he, alone, was largely responsible for the turn around Acworth has made in recent years.

7. A candidate that has pushed for other new taxes beyond the BRT.

8. A guy that does not seem to understand that a district commissioner should represent the residents of West Cobb, not the Atlanta or the Chamber or Mr. Tim Lee.
Rick Z
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July 20, 2014
And this is why I've finally decided to sit out voting in this runoff. In this race, in the congressional race, in the senate race, we get candidates who put forth basically the same conservative platitudes about what they stand for, and are mainly distinguished by what type of mud they choose to sling at their opponent. Enough! I choose None of the Above.
Move On
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July 20, 2014
Anonymous = Byrne, who will do anything to get elected. Sorry Old Byrne you are busted! Go back to Polk County where you belong. Byrne the confrontational divider who. Can't complete a sentence without cussing.
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