Primary results pick leading State reps
by Hilary Butschek
May 21, 2014 03:16 AM | 2213 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Rhett
Michael Rhett
slideshow
Don Parsons
Don Parsons
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David Wilkerson
David Wilkerson
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Horacena Tate
Horacena Tate
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Erica Thomas
Erica Thomas
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MARIETTA —Tuesday’s primary saw state Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta) ousted by Michael Rhett, a Marietta Democrat.

But state Rep. Don Parsons (R-north central Cobb), Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell) and Sen. Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta) held onto their seats.

And Erica Thomas, an Austell Democrat, won the primary for the open seat of state representative of District 39.

These results include all but 470 votes left uncounted Tuesday night because of complications with getting data off of voting machines, but all precincts reported completely to the Secretary of State.

State senator of District 33

In a tight race, central and southwest Cobb voters chose newcomer Michael Rhett, a Marietta Democrat, over Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta), who has been in the Senate for nearly 24 years, in the Tuesday Democratic primary.

Rhett won 2,871 votes, or 51 percent, compared to Thompson’s 2,717 votes, or 49 percent, with all 41 precincts reporting.

District 33 has 86,673 active registered voters.

Rhett, a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, said his strength was developing a base of supporters through his involvement in local community politics.

Rhett said his campaign focused on a personal touch for voters. He said he wore out two pairs of shoes knocking on 2,000 doors during his campaign, and he thinks the name recognition and “personal touch” of his campaign contributed to his win.

Rhett prided himself on his community involvement, even before deciding to run for office.

“It was easy to say, ‘Can I have your vote?,’ because I’ve always been there,” Rhett said.

One reason Rhett attributed to the potential fall of Thompson’s campaign is the lack of name recognition Thompson had garnered over the years.

“People hadn’t heard of him,” Rhett said. “He didn’t have name recognition because he didn’t have to campaign, and I think that kind of hurt him in the beginning. He had to make up ground.”

Rhett watched election results come in at his home in Marietta Tuesday night.

Thompson ran on his achievements as the longest serving Georgia Senate member. He is credited with pioneering the HOPE Scholarship and voting on a property tax cut. Thompson hoped to continue working on these issues and argues it is important to give money to students based on need.

State representative, District 44

North Cobb residents voted to make no change in their General Assembly representative in Tuesday’s Republican primary when they chose State Rep. Don Parsons (R-north central Cobb) over Steven Fellows, a Republican from Kennesaw.

Parsons won 2,705 votes, or 61 percent, compared to Fellows’ 1,757 votes, or 39 percent, with all 17 precincts reporting.

District 44 has 32,815 active registered voters.

Fellows said ahead of the Tuesday primary that he faced challenges in his campaign because of his agenda.

“I don’t get the big dollars that [Parsons] gets from lobbyists because I’m not playing ball with them,” Fellows said. “It’s hard for a candidate like me — and not just in my race but in any race — who wants to buck that trend and choose to serve the people instead special interests.”

The race was open and fair, Fellows said.

“My race has definitely been a little less combative than other races I’ve seen across the state,” Fellows said.

Fellows watched the results come in with his wife at home.

State representative, District 38

Southern Cobb voters chose to stick with State Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell) in Tuesday’s Democratic primary instead of Democrat Connie Taylor of Powder Springs in District 38, which has 29,967 active registered voters.

Wilkerson won 1,486 votes, or 61 percent, compared to Taylor’s 948 votes, or 39 percent, with all 13 precincts reporting.

Wilkerson celebrated his win at Varners Tavern in Smyrna with supporters Tuesday night.

Wilkerson ran on a campaign to stay visible in the community and continuing holding town hall meetings to hear the residents’ concerns. He will put an emphasis on funding for public schools if re-elected.

Taylor campaigned to try to grow job opportunities and small businesses, and she emphasized public safety.

Both representatives said a tax hike could be useful if the revenue will go to one of their campaign goals, such as public safety or education for Wilkerson and economic growth for Taylor.

Wilkerson said his accessibility to the community garnered support for his campaign and will make him a good representative.

“They know all they’ve got to do is give me a call, and I’ll be there to help,” Wilkerson said.

State representative, District 39

Voters in south Cobb District 39, which has 25,949 active registered voters, chose Erica Thomas, a Democrat of Austell, to fill the open state representative seat in the General Assembly.

Thomas won 1,617 votes, or 66 percent with all 12 precincts reporting.

Thomas said the main reason she won was her “hard work” of actively campaigning all over her district by waving signs and talking to residents.

“People run and they think they can just win because,” Thomas said Tuesday night. “But, it takes work.”

Thomas said now her first priority is to “dig deep” to find out what the needs of her district are.

Thomas’ first priority is public safety and upholding safety in neighborhoods and schools. She also promises to attempt to make District 39 a thriving area for businesses. She emphasizes making the area a good place for children to grow and live.

Monica Delancy, a Democrat from Austell, and Branson Wright, a Democrat from Mableton, also ran for the seat. Delancy got 705 votes, or 29 percent, and Wright got 142 votes, or 6 percent.

State senator of District 38

South Cobb voters chose to put faith in Sen. Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta) again instead of Reginald Crossley, a Democrat from Atlanta for the state senator of District 39.

Tate won 6,877 votes, or 76 percent, compared to Crossley’s 2,129 votes, or 24 percent, with all 16 precincts reporting.

The district has 29,967 active registered voters.

During her campaign, Tate ran confident in what she has achieved in office so far. These efforts included keeping money in education and providing more money to health care.

Crossley planned to focus on strengthening education and job and supporting green initiatives.

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S.W. Cobb
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May 21, 2014
With Rhett's election it truly marks doom for this part of the count, because he's a racist, I saw it first had 3 years ago in Marietta at S.C. high school's graduation. He was working the crowd waiting to get in and I watched him handout his literature and talk to folks in line for about an hour. During that time he never stopped to talk to not one white person or give them his handouts. I was in a group of 12 and he passed us by as well. Steve is an honorable man and I for one will be very sorry to see him go....
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