The Valdosta Daily Times
With the results from all 12 Lowndes County precincts reported at around 9:30 p.m., Bill Slaughter (R) will be the next Lowndes County Board of Commissioners Chairman, and Demarcus A. Marshall (D) will sit in the new Super District 4 seat.
With 19,532 votes out of 36,283, Slaughter took 53.83 percent of the popular vote over his opponent Gretchen Quarterman (D), who managed 46.17 percent with 16,752 votes.
Slaughter said he has a “learning curve to work through” to prepare for the seat that Chairman Ashley Paulk will step down from, but he plans to make job creation his priority as promised in his campaign.
“There’s no backing up at this point,” Slaughter said. “I’ve got my hands full. I want to pull the communities together and stay focused on economic development, which will help us with jobs and help move this community forward.”
Quarterman took the loss in stride, saying “this was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done in my whole life.”
She saw the race as a close one, and that the numbers show that nearly half the county agrees with her message of increased transparency in the county government, which Slaughter agreed was a good idea in several campaign forums.
“If everything goes well, (Slaughter) will keep good on his promise of transparency,” Quarterman said. “I challenge him to be transparent.”
With the results in, Quarterman said she is now “on vacation,” but she still plans to attend all Commissioners meetings to run her camera “until the County starts doing it themselves.”
“We deserve to know,” Quarterman said.
Marshall took his win by a much wider margin, earning 64.91 percent of the popular vote with 10,458 votes out of 16,112. His opponent, John Gates (R), earned 35.09 percent with 5,654 votes.
Marshall was excited and talkative after the polls were tallied, sharing a meal of crab legs at his home with his family. He plans to begin his career by meeting with community leaders to establish strong relationships.
“My family is ecstatic,” Marshall said. “When I think back, we really came through some rough times.”
However, he vowed the new responsibility of the Commission seat would not change him. Marshall is a “normal, practical guy,” he said, and he plans to become “more involved and aggressive in moving the county forward.”
“I have a mandate by the citizens to move the county forward,” Marshall said.
Marshall plans to stay in touch with his constituents and remain approachable. He will work with community leaders to “know exactly what my goals are,” he said.
Gates said, “I wish I would have won,” but plans to pick up and continue life as it was before his campaign and the campaign season.
“I think both of us ran a really good campaign,” Gates said. “Thank God there was no mudslinging. I think he’s a little more established in the community. I’m not from here. He is, and I think that was an advantage he had over me.”
Commissioner, District 1 Joyce Evans (D) ran unopposed and so will return to her seat. John Page (R) for the new Super District 5 ran against another Republican candidate in the primaries, and so also ran unopposed in the General Election.
In the race for Lowndes County Coroner, the incumbent Bill Watson (D) was opposed by write-in candidate Terry Hawke. Votes for Hawke will be compiled and listed with the certified results, which will be completed Friday afternoon.
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