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Incumbents have rough election night

ALBANY, Ga. -- It wasn't a good night for incumbents in two Southwest Georgia counties Tuesday night.

Worth County voters approved a new special-purpose local-option sales tax by a 2-to-1 majority, but defeated an incumbent county commissioner and re-elected a former member of the commission Tuesday night. In Terrell County, one incumbent commissioner was beaten and a second was forced into a runoff.

In Worth County District 2, Commissioner Fred Dent was defeated by Max Sutton by a vote of 486 to 251 in the Republican primary. In the GOP primary in District 4, former commissioner Billy McDonald beat John Kopke, 313-182, but the race for District 4 will be decided in November when McDonald faces Democratic incumbent Jerry Childree.

In the sales tax vote, Worth Countians approved a new SPLOST by a 1,846 to 906 vote.

In Terrell County, two contests are heading to runoffs.

In the Democratic primary in District 2 for the County Commission, Ernest Johnson triumphed over incumbent Larry Atherton by a vote of 281-212.

In the District 3 Democratic race for commissioner, Larry Faust and incumbent Van Phillips will be in a runoff after they received 181 and 161 votes respectively. The third candidate in the contest, Annie Mu'Min, got 88 votes. The winner of the runoff will meet Republican Bob Rainey in the Nov. 2 general election.

District 4 will also see a runoff between Democratic candidates Melvin Gilley and Brad Stafford. Stafford led with 190 votes to Gilley's 118. Lolita Davis was a close third with 116 ballots.