From left, Rick Muggridge and Luke Singletary
LEESBURG, Ga. — Long one of Georgia's most solid Republican areas, Lee County voters re-enforced that Tuesday by making sure its County Commission remained all Republican.
Rick Muggridge, who has served one term as District 4 commissioner, defeated independent candidate Tim Nelson 1,831-552 for a new four-year term. Muggridge took 76.8 percent in the unofficial results.
Meantime, Luke Singletary, who won the Republican Primary in July, defeated Democrat Mary Egler 2,147-407 Tuesday to win his first term as the representative for District 2 on the Lee County Commission.
Muggridge, who is also vice chairman of the commission, based his campaign on improving the quality of life in Lee County and helping the area grow from both a retail and an agricultural standpoint.
Muggridge noted his appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs board as a benefit to Lee Countians. The position, he said, allows him to development relationships with state and area officials.
Those relationships may result in positive growth for Lee County, Muggridge believes.
Muggridge, 51, is a local insurance agent.
"It's been a long campaign, but the reality is that I became a better candidate for it," Muggridge said. "I've been out on the streets and I've heard what folks have said. I don't think I've been a perfect commissioner during my first four years, but I'm honored that the people of my district have enough confidence in me to give me an opportunity to serve four more years.
"I'm going to work hard every single day to show that I deserve their trust."
"One of the things I've really focused on during this campaign is that I'm confident the key to not only being an effective commissioner but to being a good employee and even a good dad is communications. No effort for better communications is not of value.
"I think it's important, then, that we do whatever we can to make sure that we engage our citizens even more as we move forward."
"One of the things I hope I've communicated during this campaign is that I want this job, and I was willing to work to prove that."
Nelson, 35, campaigned as a fiscally conservative candidate who believed he could cut county spending considerably. Nelson is a state probation officer.
Singletary discussed transportation and public safety issues during his campaign. He particularly promoted the Forrester Parkway project and making improvements in fire protection for his district.
The improvement in fire protection would save residents of the district a considerable amount of money in insurance premiums, he said.
"I haven't just sat back during this portion of the campaign; I've tried to delve into the problems that face our county and how we can address them. I've met with Mr. (Commission Chairman Ed) Duffy and others in the community to talk with them about the issues that need our immediate attention.
"I've had quite a few people talk to me about road paving and fire protection in my district, and Forrester (Parkway) has remained a hot topic. The budget stuff is always on everyone's mind, but the thing I feel good about is we have a good team in place to tackle these problems."
"I absolutely believe all the pieces came together for me during this campaign. The timing felt right for me, and then when Ms. Betty (Johnson, the outgoing District 2 commissioner) decided she would not run, it kind of became what I've referred to as a perfect storm for me. All of the cards really fell into place.
"But I've been fortunate to have the support and help of so many people during this campaign. That's been an amazing experience."
Egler admitted she faced an uphill battle in running as a Democrat. She campaigned on a more open government and roadway improvements in her district.
Carlton Fletcher contributed to this report.