Henry County 2016 Election Results
By Monroe Roark
While most everyone had their attention on the race for president of the United States, history was made Tuesday night in Henry County’s elections.
For the first time ever, a black woman will serve on the Board of Commissioners. She could be installed as early as next week, and another black woman will sit in the chairman’s seat beginning in January - although that race won’t be decided at least until Monday and probably not until next month.
Dee Clemmons, the Democratic candidate, won the District 2 commission race by five points over Republican candidate Jeff Robinson. The vote count was 11,075-10,045.
The District 2 seat has been vacant since Brian Preston resigned several months ago. The other five members of the board declined to appoint an interim commissioner, but now they could appoint Clemmons to fill the last two months of that term and segue into her official four-year term.
Chairman Tommy Smith said Wednesday morning that he and the other board members are amenable to that, although the exact timing is not yet certain. The election results will likely not be certified until Monday. The next regular BOC meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 15, so it is possible that Clemmons could be sworn in and sit on the board for that meeting if everything falls into place.
The chairman’s race is incredibly tight and still up in the air. With more than 94,000 ballots cast, Republican candidate June Wood held a 137-vote lead over Democrat candidate Carlotta Harrell as of Wednesday morning.
County elections director Tina Lunsford said Wednesday that her office still had about 400 provisional ballots to process as well as military ballots. She confirmed that the results would not be final until Monday.
And they might not be final then. Thanks in large part to more than 1,200 write-in votes, most of them likely for official write-in candidate Don Henderson, it is highly possible that neither Wood nor Harrell has the majority of votes (50 percent plus one) needed to win the race. That means a runoff, with the official voting date already set at Dec. 6.
There is already one race going to a runoff, and that is the special election for mayor of Stockbridge. Regina Lewis-Ward and Judy Neal emerged from the four-candidate fields as the top vote-getters and will square off over the next few weeks for the right to serve the final year of former mayor Tim Thompson’s unexpired term.
There is no word yet from the elections office as to whether early voting will be available for a runoff.
For complete results from Henry County’s elections, visit hcwebb.boca.co.henry.ga.us/elections.