Columbus Residents Maintain Leadership, Select New Faces in Local Elections

Columbus Residents Maintain Leadership, Select New Faces in Local Elections

By Kirsten J. Barnes

Columbus residents made their voices heard at the close of the polls on May 21, 2024, sending the majority of its local leadership back to office while selecting several new people for open seats. 

For the most part, Columbus residents will have the same Columbus Council leadership as Glenn Davis (District 2), Garry Allen (District 6) and Walker Garrett (District 8) all incumbents who ran unopposed. 

Meanwhile, in District 4, incumbent Toyia Tucker beat challenger Tyrone Thomas by less than 150 votes. She received 1,377 votes or 52.44 percent to his 1,249 votes.

There will be a run-off for the Columbus Council-At-Large seat between Travis Chambers who received 7,569 of the 17,461 votes cast, or 43.35 percent of the vote; and John Anker who received 38.96 percent or 6,802 votes. 

The four Muscogee County School Board seats that were on the ballot will remain the same. Pat Hugley Green (District 1), Vanessa K. Jackson (District 3), and Laurie Cochran McRae (District 5), all incumbents, ran unopposed and were successfully reelected. Voters also returned Patricia “Pat” Frey to District 7. Frey received 54.07 percent, or 571 votes, compared to Laketha Elaine Ashe’s 485 votes or 45.93 percent. 

Also, voters showed overwhelming support for the school system and its students by renewing the ESPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), with 63.25 percent or 11,153 yes votes.

Incumbent State Court Judge for Muscogee County Judge Pythias “Pete” Temesgan ran unopposed for another term, as did incumbent Chattahoochee County Superior Court Judges Maureen M. Gottfried, John T. Martin Sr., Gil McBride, Benjamin S. Richardson, Art Smith, and Bobby G. Peters.

Incumbent Court of Appeals incumbent Judges Stephen Dillard, Ken Hodges, Ben Land, Brian M. Rickman and Jeffrey A. Watkins were reelected. However, Tabitha Ponder was newly elected to the Court of Appeals in an open seat after defeating Jeff Davis. She received 8,351 votes or 51.82 percent of the vote, while he received 7,764 votes. 

Incumbent Supreme Court Judge Andrew Pinson defeated opponent John Barrow with 52,17 percent or 8,704 votes to Barrow’s 7,980 votes. Meanwhile, incumbents Supreme Court Judges Michael P. Boggs, John J. Ellington and Nels Peterson ran unopposed, securing their seats for another four years. 

In local partisan politics, in the District Attorney’s race Democrat Anthony Johnson will face Republican Don Kelly for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit seat, a position left vacant by the late Stacey Jackson, who decided not to seek reelection and subsequently died. 

Probate Judge Marc D’Antonio, a Democrat, will continue in his seat, he did not face primary opposition and will not face any opposition in November. 

Likewise, Clerk of Superior Court Danielle F. Forte, another Democrat, faced no primary opposition and will not face a Republican challenger in November. 

However, Sheriff Greg Countryman Sr., a Democrat, will face Republican Mark LaJoye in November. 

The retirement of Tax Commissioner Lula Huff left David Britt, a Democrat, to run for the seat without any party or outside party opposition. 

Furthermore, incumbent Coroner Buddy Bryan, a Democrat, beat challenger Royal Anderson with 64.18 percent of the vote or 7,064 votes, and will not face an opponent in November.

Clerk of Municipal Court Reginald Thompson, a Democrat ran without primary opposition and will not face a Republican opponent, while the same is true for Municipal Court Judge Steven D. Smith, the Democratic incumbent.

For the Solicitor General Race, former Democrat but now Republican Suzanne Goddard will face Democrat Shevon Sutcliffe Thomas in November. During the previous election cycle, Goddard ran and was elected as a Democrat.

Turning to the state races, incumbent Democrat Sen. Ed Harbison (District 15) had no primary opposition and will not face a Republican challenger in November in the Georgia State Senate. In State Senate District 29, Sen. Randy Robertson, a Republican, will face Democrat Ellen T. Wright.

In Georgia House District 137 Rep. Debbie G. Buckner, the incumbent and a Democrat, will face Republican contender Stephen Acorn. In House District 139, Republican Carmen Rice will face Democrat Carl Sprayberry for the open seat after Republican Rep. Richard Smith died in January.

Incumbent State Rep. Carolyn F. Hugley (District 141) and Rep. Tremaine Teddy Reese (District 140), both Democrats, are running unopposed and without Republican opposition, and Republican Rep. Vance Ce. Smith Jr. (District 138), also an incumbent, is also running unopposed and without outside party opposition.

In the federal election, U.S. House of Representative District 2 incumbent Democrat Sanford Bishop will face the winner of the Republican run-off between A. Wayne Johnson who received 1,567 or 45.04 percent of the vote and Chuck Hand who received 995 votes or 28.60 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. 

In the open U.S. House of Representative District 3 seat Democrat Maura Keller will face Republican Brian Jack in November. 

All results and numbers were provided by Muscogee County Director of Elections and Registration Nancy Boren.

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