Write-in candidate forces run-off - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Write-in candidate forces run-off

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November 3, 2004

Americus-- The write-in candidate in the Sumter County Sheriff's race forced a run-off, although he will not be in it.

Americus police officer Nelson Brown took 27 percent of the vote, coming in third behind Republican Pete Smith and Democrat James Driver.

The day after the election, it was Brown's strong showing as a write-in candidate that everyone was talking about--including his opponents.

It was a sleepless night for Republican Pete Smith, "I was standing right here about 4:30 this morning."

Smith is back where he started--at the Sumter County Courthouse where Tuesday night's results trickled in. He captured 40 percent of the vote. But, it was the write-in candidate's performance that really impressed Smith.

Smith says, "He mounted a tremendous effort and he is to be applauded for the effort he mounted."

Nelson Brown watched the results come in at the Courthouse, too. Brown took 27 percent of the vote.

Democrat James Driver was not surprised, "I mean I knew Nelson Brown was going to be strong. I never underestimated him at any time."

Brown's performance was so strong he is forcing a run-off. It's a position Driver has been in before, defeating the incumbent Sheriff in a primary run-off.

Driver says, "Run-offs you always worry about the turnout like I said before when I was in the run-off before. This will be my fourth shot at this thing, so hopefully I can get them back out and over on my side."

Both Driver and Smith are counting on more than their supporters turning out again, but Brown's too--and both say they are courting those votes.

Nelson Brown is still waiting on a ruling on the appeal of an earlier Board of Elections decision to discount his petitions to be the Independent candidate.

The run-off between Pete Smith and James Driver is in three weeks.

Posted at 4:25 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com