Victors react to runoff elections

Victors react to runoff elections
Terrell County's long-time Sheriff John Bowens won his first runoff race. (Source: WALB)
The next four years will make Bowens the longest serving sheriff in Terrell County. (Source: WALB)
The next four years will make Bowens the longest serving sheriff in Terrell County. (Source: WALB)
The Terrell Tax and Tag office Manager Mary Ellen Harnage was elected as Tax Commissioner. (Source: WALB)
The Terrell Tax and Tag office Manager Mary Ellen Harnage was elected as Tax Commissioner. (Source: WALB)
Sheriff John Bowens (Source: WALB)
Sheriff John Bowens (Source: WALB)
Mary Ellen Harnage (Source: WALB)
Mary Ellen Harnage (Source: WALB)

TERRELL CO., GA (WALB) - Several runoffs were decided Tuesday night in south Georgia, including three close races in Terrell and Lee Counties.

And, one decision put the victor in the history books.

Terrell County's long-time Sheriff John Bowens won his first runoff race, defeating James Driver by close to 19 points.

"I just appreciate the voters of Terrell County giving me another four years," said Bowens.

The next four years will make Bowens the longest serving sheriff in Terrell County.

But he said that one issue continues to plague him.

"I want to have more deputies we are mostly running one to two short at all times," explained Bowens.

Sheriff Bowens often works himself, and said that it is hard to keep people when the pay in Terrell is less than other counties.

"But, just hopefully in the future Terrell County can come up to the standards with other counties where we can keep good people that come and they leave for more money, and you can't fault them for that," said Bowens.

And the Terrell Tax and Tag office Manager Mary Ellen Harnage was elected as Tax Commissioner by a close margin, defeating Tax Assessor Darlene Paul by 141 votes.

Harnage said that she plans to address the complaint she has heard most often during her 17 and a half years working in the Tag Office.

"Oh, debit and credit cards is the main thing because everybody comes in here and looks at our sign and says oh no, they don't take credit cards, so that will help a lot," said Harnage.

There was one runoff in neighboring Lee County, with Melanie Gahring defeating DA Investigator Miles O'Quinn by a slim 60 votes, a 2 and a half percent margin.

Gahring was unavailable for comment on Wednesday, but said she wants to improve technology at the Probate Court, making it easier for people to do business.

The Lee County Elections Supervisor said that the turnout was better than expected and more than half of the people that voted in May returned to cast their ballot in the runoff.

Copyright 2016 WALB. All rights reserved.