Laurens gets first Republican commissioner

With all but a few ballots from early voting tabulated, Laurens County voters were poised Tuesday night to put two new faces into office ‹ including the first Republican county commissioner.

Voters also returned to office two longtime county school board members.

Buddy Adams, a former chairman of the county GOP, will step into the District 3 seat on the county commission formerly held by Tal Fuqua, who died in February. Adams pledged to work with the other commission membersand other city and town leaders to make sure Laurens County prospers and grows and moves forward.

Late Tuesday, Adams had 3,163 votes. His Democratic challenger, former Dudley mayor Yates Ware, had 1,632.

Adams might be a new face, but he's no newcomer to government. He served three terms on Dublin City Council and is currently on the city's planning and zoning board."I'm not new to this," he said.

In the race for clerk of courts, Jackie Dalton grabbed an easy win. Dalton, a Democrat and longtime employee in the clerk's office, will succeed her boss, Allen Thomas, who is retiring after 25 years.

Dalton defeated Republican Emily Holland, 11,942-6,626.

In the contested, nonpartisan school board races, incumbents Bill Rowe and Ellis Carswell also cruised to victory.Rowe, a former county school superintendent, defeated his District 5 challenger, Frankie Bracewell, 1,666-757.

In District 6, Carswell outdistanced John Whigham, 1,691-724.

Voting was heavy at the polls and in advance. The county saw a total turnout of more than 70 percent of the county¹s registered voters. Chief registrar Susan Rooks said 7,132 people 27 percent of the county's registered voters cast ballots in early voting. Another 1,202 voted by absentee ballot.

Totals late Tuesday did not include some votes cast during the early voting period.

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.