Sumter Sheriff's race run-off - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter Sheriff's race run-off

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November 19, 2004

Americus-- There is one big seat in Southwest Georgia still to be decided in Tuesday's election--the Sheriff of Sumter County.

It's been a long road for Democrat James Driver, who is counting on his supporters to return to the polls for the fourth and final time.  But, he is facing a popular Republican in the race--Pete Smith--who earned more votes in the November election.

Five days until election day and Pete Smith isn't resting, "It's very tiring, very stressful, but I feel real good about it, I feel real good about the response I have gotten from the people."

The Republican candidate came out ahead by about 1,000 votes in what was essentially a three way tie November 2nd. Democrat James Driver ran a close second, "This will be the fourth time I have had to get my core supporters out to vote. It has been an experience."

An experience that has lasted 14 months for Driver, having defeated the incumbent Sheriff in a heated primary run-off. But, the end of a long and trying journey is near, "Well, fighting a cold is what I have been doing for a few days but still going door to door trying to get with my core supporters and asking people for their vote and support."

Core support is what both James Driver and Pete Smith are counting on--both think they know what people want in a Sheriff. Smith says, "They are concerned about crime, they are concerned about violence in their neighborhoods, and we have to do a better job."

Driver says, "Someone that is going to be accessible to them and hear their concerns in the community and this is what I plan to be."

Now, it is up the voters to decide who they want. More than 1,200 people in Sumter County voted early in this runoff.

Posted at 3:50 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com