Spalding County Voters overwhelmingly vote no on TSPLOST referendum

SHEILA A. MARSHALL ::: 

Spalding County voters took to the polls Tuesday, with a resounding 6,473, or 69.7 percent, voting no on the regional Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST).

The final outcome of the TSPLOST was determined by the total vote across the ten-county region, which included Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup and Upson counties. With all ten counties reporting, the unofficial result was 57,013 votes – or 69.28 percent – opposed to the referendum, and 25,275 – or 30.72 percent – in favor of the one cent sales tax.

In local races, Spalding County Board of Commissioners members Bob Gilreath (District 3) and Eddie Freeman (District 4) were defeated in their respective primary races.

Gilreath, who had previously announced he would not seek reelection, faced two Democratic opponents – Rita Johnson, who won the race with 236, or 54.76 percent of the votes cast – and Gregory McClarin, who garnered 172, or 39.91 percent of the votes. Gilreath received only 23 votes, accounting for a mere 5.34 percent of the ballots cast.

Johnson will now face off against Republican opponent Michael Renew, who ran unopposed and received 317 votes.

In the District 4 race, Freeman received 833, or 43.12 percent of the votes, while his lone opponent, Bart Miller Jr. received 1,099, or 56.88 percent.

Incumbent Spalding County Clerk of Court Marcia Norris defeated her opponent, Edith Ray, by a margin of 68.26 to 31.74 percent. The unofficial results showed Norris came in with 4,373 votes, while Ray received 2,033.

The only election that was not determined by Tuesday’s vote was that of Probate Court judge. Four candidates sought the position, but none received a simple majority of the votes cast, with Gerald Bailey receiving 1,635, or 18.72 percent; Jan Hunt 4,147, or 47.48 percent; Kay Landrum Norris 2,440, or 27.94 percent; and Cary Pope 501, or 5.74 percent.

An August 21 runoff between Hunt and Kay Norris will determine which candidate will take the nonpartisan Probate Court bench.

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