Incumbents dominated in McDuffie County during Tuesday's general election. The same held true in Warren County, where a newly appointed school board member held back a strong challenge from a former member who was ousted by Gov. Sonny Perdue earlier this year.
In McDuffie County, Board of Education Vice-Chairman Rick McCorkle defeated Kelly Evans for the District 7 seat. Mr. McCorkle, general manager of a Bi-Lo store in Martinez, garnered 1,075 votes or 67.36 percent to Mrs. Evans' 521 votes or 32.64 percent, according to unofficial election returns.
"I'm honored and very thankful to the voters of McDuffie County and that they have the confidence in me and feel like I'm approachable," Mr. McCorkle told The McDuffie Mirror on Tuesday night. Mrs. Evans, who had been seeking office for the first time, said she appreciated the support and votes she received.
"I had a wonderful experience, met a lot of new people, learned a lot," she said. "Anyone who is interested in running for any office, I encourage them to do so. It's one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had."
Mrs. Evans, executive director of the Thomson Housing Authority, said she let her two children, Marylynn and David, experience what it was like to go to the polls and vote earlier in the day.
Mrs. Evans, who voted at Marshall Baptist Church, said, "When Marylynn saw Sistie Hudson's name, she gave a squeak of excitement. Then, when they saw their mommy's name, they were even more excited. It was a neat experience. I'll never forget. Both of them now say they want to run for office when they grow up."
Two other local school board candidates -- Ella Mae Samuels, an incumbent and Bea Hart-Moss, a former school board member -- won the District 3 and Super District 1 seats, respectively, without opposition.
The Rev. Samuels received 975 votes or 99.69 percent. Ms. Hart-Moss got 2,017 votes or 99.51 percent.
"I'm excited and ready to get in and get the proper training done and get to work," Ms. Hart-Moss said. "I'm thankful to the voters for their support and look forward to working for them."
In another contested race, Commission Vice-Chairman Sammie Wilson Sr. easily reclaimed his District 1-A seat.
Mr. Wilson got 1,596 votes (64.67 percent) to Ray Roquemore's 870 votes (35.25 percent).
Mr. Roquemore, a retired Lockheed executive, said, "It was an uphill battle. I wish it would have turned out differently, but the voters spoke and I have to honor their wishes."
He said he would continue to be a proactive civic leader and strong church member at First Baptist Church.
In an uncontested race for the District 1B seat on the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners, the Rev. Frederick Favors received a total of 2,030 votes or 98.64 percent.
In the State House District 124 race between incumbent Rep. Helen "Sistie" Hudson and Charles Ashfield, Hudson won with a total of 7,276 votes (53.2%) vs 6,394 (46.8%) for Ashfield. District 124 includes the counties of McDuffie, Warren, Hancock, Putnam, Taliaferro and Glascock.
It also drew lots of local interest in McDuffie and Warren counties. Voters in both counties were split on who they chose in that race.
In McDuffie County, voters chose Mr. Ashfield. He received a total of 3,376 votes or 55.24 percent to incumbent Rep. Hudson's 2,734 votes or 44.73 percent.
It was just the opposite in Warren County. Rep. Hudson was the favorite candidate. She received 1,094 votes to Mr. Ashfield's 631 votes.
In Warren County, Sandy Yelton won for the first time in her political career. Ms. Yelton narrowly defeated Clara Roberts for a seat on the board of education.
Mrs. Yelton received 138 votes to Mrs. Roberts' 126 votes, according to Jeremy Rachels, an elections official in Warren County.
Mrs. Roberts and two other former school board members, Cecil Brown and Dr. Charles Culver, were dismissed from office earlier this year by Gov. Perdue because of discriminatory hiring practices and ethics violations.
"I'm glad it's over," Mrs. Yelton said. "I've had a lot of support and encouragement."