Local winners: Sheriff Babb, commissioners Maxwell and Oddo, School Board Post 1 Hough, and a cap on school taxing power —
For the first time more than two decades, Fayette Democrats mounted multiple challenges to several Republican incumbents — from sheriff to county commissioner to state representatives. The exercise didn’t produce any victories for the Democrats, but the vote split demonstrated the growing power of an opposition party in what has been since the early 1990s a dependable GOP stronghold.
In one of the closest contests on the Fayette ballot, Republican Donald Trump beat Democrat Joe Biden 53% to 46% in local votes.
Two-term Sheriff Barry Babb was returned for another four years as the top law enforcement officer in Fayette County. Babb defeated Democrat Chris Pigors by nearly 15,000 votes. Babb got 40,384 (61%) to Pigors’s 25,505 (39%).
Multi-term Fayette County Commissioner Charles Oddo — who has served as the board’s chairman in the past — received 37,580 votes (58%) to retain his at-large Post 5 slot. Democrat William Lightle took 27,655 votes (42%) in his losing effort.
Incumbent Eric Maxwell was reelected to the District 1 post with 9,659 votes (60%), while challenger Democrat Vickie Butler notched 6,418 votes (40%).
In the Board of Education Post 1 being vacated by Barry Marchman of Tyrone, Randy Hough tallied 9,524 votes (59%) while Democrat Candace Aaron got 6,582 votes (41%).
Hough will join a school board that was handed a financial challenge by the 43,822 Fayette voters who overwhelmingly approved a cap on the automatic school tax increases that come with increased property value assessments. The Fayette Homestead Exemption prohibits the school board from raising taxes more than 3% on residential property, regardless of the increased value. The change applies only to the school tax. Other local governments are not affected by the new law in Fayette.
Two municipalities held nonpartisan special elections for vacant council posts. Tyrone Council Post 3 had four contenders to fill the vacancy created when incumbent Ken Matthews died in June. And Brooks also held a special election with two candidates.
In Tyrone, the top vote-getter and winner was Billy Campbell with 990 votes out of 2,535 cast, including 26 write-ins. In Brooks, Kay Brumbelow won the Post 1 seat with 220 votes (64%) to Donald Britt’s 127 votes (37%) in the nonpartisan race.
In legislative races, the Republican incumbents defeated their Democrat challengers. District 72 Rep. Josh Bonner beat Democrat Fred Rovner 74% to 26%. Griffin Rep. Karen Mathiak beat Democrat William Harris, and District 71 Rep. Philip Singleton won over Peachtree City Librarian Jill Prouty 72% to 28%.