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Voters back airport commercialization foes; most incumbent lawmakers have November challengers
by Tom Spigolon
May 28, 2014 03:17 PM | 2180 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two candidates opposing airport commercialization easily won election to Paulding County Commission last week.

A third candidate allied to their cause awaited a November vote which could give them a majority on the commission when they take office in January.

Commercialization opponent Tony Crowe easily defeated incumbent David Barnett 59 percent to 41 percent in the Republican primary for the commission’s Post 4 seat. Crowe will be unopposed in the November general election.

Vernon Collett, also a commercialization opponent, easily defeated Herb Haynes and former school board member Richard Manous for the commission’s Post 3 seat in the GOP primary. Collett won with 57 percent of the vote to 22 percent for Haynes and 21 percent for Manous.

Crowe said “anyone who had the pulse of this county knew” he and Collett would win because of their stands on the county’s alleged lack of transparency in dealings with a company operating at Silver Comet Field airport. Silver Comet Partners announced in October it would seek passenger flights after keeping the deal secret for almost a year after signing a contract with the Paulding Airport Authority.

“I knew the county was ready for this,” Crowe said.

Collett, a former Paulding Republican Party chairman, said he was “shocked” he got 57 percent of the vote after expecting a lower number.

“I think it was a statement. [Voters] had a lot to say,” Collett said.

“I think it does actually show the people have lost a lot of respect and their hope in government, and they want it back,” he said. “They want to feel they can believe in their government. This is a step towards it.”

Collett is unopposed in the general election and will succeed Tommie Graham, who did not seek re-election.

Outspoken airport opponent Patti Smith easily won the Democratic nomination for the commission’s Post 2 seat, 71 percent to 29 percent, over George “Pat” Hughes. Smith will face incumbent Republican Todd Pownall, also a commercialization opponent, who was unopposed for his party’s nomination, and independent candidate Mike Pope in the November general election.

Only 10 percent of Paulding’s registered voters cast ballots, according to the Paulding County Department of Elections and Voter Registration.

In other local races, Republican primary voters re-elected school board member Sammy McClure to his District 5 seat, 62 percent to 38 percent, over Earl Cosgrove. McClure will be unopposed in November.

They also re-elected District 2 school board member Nick Chester and District 6 board member Kim Curl, who were both unopposed in last week's GOP primary and in the general election.

Incumbent District Attorney D.R. "Dick" Donovan also was unopposed in last week's primary and does not have a challenger in November.

In local legislative races, incumbent District 17 State Rep. Howard Maxwell, R-Dallas, easily turned back a Republican primary challenge from David Bond. Maxwell won with 62 percent of the vote, and will be unopposed in the general election.

District 30 State Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, defeated former House member Bill Hembree for a seat representing parts of Paulding, Douglas and Carroll counties. Dugan will face Democrat James Nixon in the general election.

Paulding Democratic primary voters nominated incumbent District 66 State Rep. Kim Alexander, D-Hiram. Republican voters nominated incumbents District 31 State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen; District 19 State Rep. Paulette Braddock, R-Powder Springs; and District 67 State Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville. All were unopposed for their parties' nominations.

Braddock will face Democratic nominee Sandra Fuller of Dallas; Heath will face Democrat Charles Winter of Dallas; and Alexander will face Republican Bob Snelling of Douglasville in the November general election. Gravley is unopposed in November.

Meanwhile, voters chose to renew the 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax for schools by a 53 to 47 percent margin.

The vote renewed the tax through 2021 and will generate an estimated $87.6 million for debt service, building upgrades and additions to two schools.

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