Elections take their toll on candidates

Dennis Reese
Dennis Reese
Steve Wood
Steve Wood
Gene Scarbrough
Gene Scarbrough

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Some election candidates in south Georgia have been campaigning for more than a year now.

Tuesday's primary runoff will mark the end of some elections. And this whole process can take a toll on the candidates.

Dennis Reese was one of three men mired in a contentious Tift County Sheriff election. He says there is a lot of work that goes into it.

"It can be very overwhelming financially, mentally, even physically. A lot of people don't even realize that it can be very overwhelming," Reese said.
Between speaking engagements, knocking on doors, and waving from the street, many sacrifices had to be made including a good night's sleep.
"I probably got anywhere from five to six hours," Reese said. "I was always constantly going, constantly thinking, preparing the next day if I had a speech, going down my list of who I am going to see tomorrow and the next day. So, it's really never ending."
That never ending schedule has kept many candidates with their feet planted on Tift Avenue for long hours.
For seemingly months, candidates have occupied  street corners during their campaigns- so much so that tax commissioner candidates have joked that they should start charging property taxes there.
As with any big life decision, these candidates consulted people who have done it before. Reese remembers a conversation with retiring sheriff Gary Vowell.
"When I went to him and talked to him and told him that that is what I wanted to do," said Reese. "His response was, "are you sure you want to take on a task like that?' I said, yes sir, that is what I want."
And these candidates must consider more than themselves.
"But, it takes an effect on their family as well especially if you have young kids," said Reese. "They go through that. They hurt when you hurt."
But, they say it is all worth it to benefit Tift County residents. 
Dennis Reese lost to Steve Wood and Gene Scarbrough who are in Tuesday's run-off.  Reese says he does not have any regrets about his campaign and says there's a chance he could run for office again in the future.

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