Leader in Peach commission Post 3 race waits to claim victory

FORT VALLEY -- Betty C. Hill may have become a new Peach County commissioner Tuesday, but she is waiting before she claims victory.

Final precinct votes put Hill, 65, narrowly ahead of opponent Kristie Kenney, 40, in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election for Peach County Commission Post 3.

The Democratic winner faces no Republican opposition in November’s general election so in effect wins the seat.

However, Hill said she was told provisional votes and military ballots won’t receive a final count until Friday and refused to accept victory Tuesday night.

The two women made bids for Post 3 when incumbent Michael Dinkins announced he was vacating the seat to run for the state House of Representatives.

Tuesday’s totals put Hill ahead 357 to 340, according to Michelle Riley, Peach elections supervisor.

“I’m happy, and I’m really surprised and thankful to all who voted for me,” Hill said. “I guess I won’t be rejoicing until Friday, though. We were told it would be then before we would know all the votes. But I’m just delighted.”

Hill said naming policy priorities and making plans as a commissioner-to-be were too far down the road to discuss at this point.

Kenney could not be reached for comment.

Hill is a retired educator and Kenney is a program coordinator at Fort Valley State University and owner of All Stars Footwear & Apparel in downtown Fort Valley.

Kattie Vinson Kendrick, chair of Peach County’s Democratic Party, said she stands ready to congratulate whoever claims victory.

“I have no doubt either candidate would do their best for Peach County and the third District,” Kendrick said. “The voters make their choice, and the winner will be expected to fulfill their promises and do their best for Peach County overall and for Middle Georgia. We don’t live in isolation.”

Riley said voter turnout was light Tuesday, with about 26 percent of voters casting ballots. State records show Peach County has 14,694 registered voters.