Cross the new probate judge; Watson continues as tax commissioner; Neal keeps BOE seat; Bond to take place at BOC table; Scogin retains BOC post; Hudgens wins; Broun keeps post; Chambliss, McCain favored by county voters The nation focused on the presidential election Tuesday night, but the tight local sheriff’s race drew a lot of attention in Madison County, where Republican challenger Kip Thomas edged long-time Democratic incumbent Clayton Lowe.

Over 11,000 people voted in the sheriff’s race, with only 71 votes separating the candidates. Thomas received 5,576 votes (50.3 percent) and Lowe garnered 5,505 (49.6 percent).

Thomas was congratulated by well-wishers at the county government complex Tuesday as votes were tallied. The sheriff-elect said his first priority when he takes office in January will be to “build better relationships” between the sheriff’s office and other government entities.

“I feel that communication between the sheriff’s office and the commissioners, EMS, volunteer fire departments — everyone — has been lacking,” said Thomas. “It’s time for us to work together.”

While the sheriff’s race drew considerable notice, our local seats were also up for grabs Tuesday. In the non-partisan Probate Judge’s race, Cody Cross defeated Joley Barber 6,653 to 3,055 (68.5 to 31.4 percent).

Democrat Louise Watson held on to her tax commissioner’s seat, defeating Republican challenger Kathy Stamps, 6,122 to 4,894 (55.6 to 44.4 percent).

Incumbent Leslie Neal edged Gary Cromer in the school board District 3 election, 828 to 803 (50.7 to 49.2 percent).

Republican Dewitt “Pete” Bond II defeated Democrat Melvin Drake 1,435 to 695 (67.1 to 32.5 percent) in the county commission District 4 race, while District 5 Republican incumbent Bruce Scogin held off a challenge by Democrat Cathy Livesay 1,442 to 961 (60 to 40 percent).

Earlier this year, the county commissioners agreed to stagger terms at the BOC table. The District 4 post will carry a four-year term, while the District 5 seat will be up for grabs again in 2010.

District 47 State Senator Ralph Hudgens held off a challenge from Democrat Tim Riley Tuesday, winning 64.8 percent of the vote in the district to 35.2 percent for Riley. Hudgens received 66.5 percent of the votes in Madison County.

Georgia’s U.S. House of Representative District 10 incumbent Paul Broun retained his seat Tuesday, garnering 60.8 percent of the vote in the district to 39.2 percent for Democratic challenger Bobby Saxon. Broun finished with 67 percent of the vote in Madison County.

The U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin appears to be headed for a Dec. 2 runoff, with Chambliss receiving 49.9 percent of the vote and Martin garnering 46.7 percent in the three-man race.

In the seven-person Court of Appeals race, Sara Doyle and Mike Sheffield will face off Dec. 2, with Doyle receiving 22.5 percent overall and Sheffield receiving 20.9 percent.

Numerous local posts were also uncontested in the General Election. Here is a quick look at others who were elected locally: Michelle Cleveland, coroner; Anthony Dove, county commission chairman; Stanley Thomas, District 1 commissioner; John Pethel Sr., District 2 commissioner; Mike Youngblood, District 3 commissioner; John Bailey, Superior Court Judge; Thomas Hodges, Superior Court Judge; Jeff Malcom, Superior Court Judge; Robert Hooper, BOE District 1; James Patton, BOE District 4; Gregory Wilkes, BOE District 5; Terry Chandler, Broad River Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.

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