Candidates in three races were forced to extend their campaigns for several more weeks, after the Nov. 8 general election ended with no candidate receiving the 50 percent plus one vote needed to win outright. Tuesday’s runoff is for wards 4, 5 and 7.
“Runoff elections are completely determined by the voter turnout,” said Smyrna Councilman Michael McNabb.
“I have absolutely no idea what percentage of the voters who voted in Ward 4 on Nov. 8 will return to the polls for this runoff election.”
Nevertheless, McNabb, the incumbent in the Ward 4 race, has sent letters to most of the voters in his ward, asking for their support and reminding them about advance voting that took place last week and tomorrow’s election. While he has participated in many campaign events since Nov. 8, he said he has not conducted any fundraising.
His challenger, Corkey Welch, an engineer, said he feels good about his chances in the runoff. He has been campaigning by way of telephone and mailings.
In November, McNabb captured 48.6 percent of the vote — not far from the 50 percent plus one needed to win — while Welch received just 32 percent. But Welch said he believes many of the voters came out simply for the purposed Sunday alcohol sales referendum.
“That combined with the endorsements of both Judith Causey Jones and Alex Bretch will hopefully ensure a victory in the runoff for me,” he stated.
In northwest Smyrna’s Ward 5, which covers most of the city west of Atlanta Road and north of Church Street, Jason Saliba faces Susan Dease Wilkinson. In the general election, Saliba received 40.4 percent of the vote to Wilkinson’s 38.6 percent in the three-candidate race.
Wilkinson said she is confident she will win and has been pounding the pavement asking for votes, as well as sending mailings and putting up new campaign signs that include the runoff date.
“This is a City of Smyrna election and I have concentrated on the people here in Ward 5, said Wilkinson, who served on the Smyrna Educational Task Force.
“Throughout my campaign, I have always placed an importance on personal contact with the people of Ward 5. I have really enjoyed getting out and meeting everyone in the ward. They have been very supportive of me and of my ideas. I will represent all the people in the ward and encourage everyone to vote.”
Saliba, a Cobb deputy assistant district attorney, said he has been discussing city issues with anyone willing to listen to him, voter or not, a public events and civic functions in Smyrna. He said the next few years will be a time of great challenges and opportunities for the city.
“The revitalization of the Windy Hill and South Cobb Drive corridors is essential to the continued survival of our neighborhoods and the success of the city as a whole,” said Saliba.
“The traffic issues on Windy Hill must be addressed and then the city must recruit stable businesses into both the South Cobb Drive and Windy Hill areas. Based on the size of the parcels of land in these areas, much of this new business will need to be small businesses, which have long been the backbone of Smyrna. There needs to be a long term plan for these two areas, much like there was for the downtown and Atlanta Road areas.”
In southwest Smyrna’s Ward 7, which lies west of South Cobb Drive and stretches from Oakdale Road up north to Concord Road, former state representative Ron Fennel received 39.3 percent, or 697 votes in November to face Garry Osborne, who got 21.4 percent, or 380 votes in the four candidate race.
Osborne, a Campbell High School teacher, said the result of the runoff will be decided by turnout, which is why he has been campaigning from door-to-door.
“I am not a politician or gold dome lobbyist, and my only agenda is to listen to the citizens and do the best I can to represent them on the City Council,” he said.
“I promise to be a voice, not an echo on the Council. Hopefully, the citizens will choose well. Elections have consequences.”
Since the November election, Fennel said he been campaigning door-to-door, attending neighborhood meetings, a forum, appearing at community functions, emailing friends and supports, and putting up campaign signage. He also said he raised $1,600 during that period.
“I want to work toward a better Smyrna, for our families,” he said.
“As a member of the City Council, I will be accessible to constituents and will hold regular neighborhood meetings to seek citizen input and involvement in making Smyrna the best it can be. I would be honored to be elected to serve.”
Advance voting for the Smyrna runoff in the three wards was conducted from last Monday to Friday. The Cobb Board of Elections and Registration had received 259 votes, including 67 mail-in ballots, by Thursday, said director Janine Eveler.