By Joel Hall
Despite a year full of controversial board decisions, incumbents running for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners pulled off strong wins on Tuesday during the primary election.
Despite facing four challengers, Incumbent District 1 Commissioner Sonna Singleton won her bid for reelection outright, while Incumbent District 4 Commissioner Michael Edmondson will go on to face challenger Lee Scott in November.
In the District 1 Commissioner race, Singleton took 55 percent of the vote, while her closest challenger, Shegale Crute, took away 15 percent. Challengers Rosa Barbee, Joyce Baul, and Richard Reagan walked away with 8, 9, and 13 percent of the vote, respectively.
Singleton said she was "humbled" by the district's decision to have her continue in the roll of commissioner for another four years. "I never just took this for granted," she said. "What I do know is my four years of serving as commissioner has been about building relationships. Clearly, I have opened up a communication line with voters in this district, and they know that they can call on me and I will be responsible. For me, it means we can continue on with this work that we have started."
Working against Singleton during her campaign was the controversial decision of the BOC to dismantle the C-TRAN bus service as of March 31. In October of last year, Singleton was one of four commissioners on the board to vote in favor of ending the service.
While most of Singleton's opponents ran on pro-C-TRAN platforms, Singleton said the community stood behind her decision to end the service. "I have [a] database of thousands of e-mail addresses," Singleton said. "Before I make major decisions ... I poll them on those issues. This was not a hasty decision. They [constituents] knew that was a tough decision for me, but it was a decision for the betterment of the county. They knew the financial strain C-TRAN would put on our budget. They [her opponents] didn't have that communication with the citizens of this district."
Singleton said she would continue to work toward bringing new amenities to the northeast portion of the county, such as a new library, and a new police precinct. She said she would also work on redevelopment projects, such as the Gateway project in Morrow and the renovation of the Historic Rex Village.
"We have some exciting projects going on in this district and I want to see them go into completion," she said.
Crute, the second-highest vote getter in the contest, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.
With 52 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary District 4 Commissioner race Michael Edmondson will defend his seat against Republican Lee Scott during the November general election -- a repeat of the 2006 election when Lee Scott faced Edmondson for the same seat.
On Tuesday, Edmondson was able to defeat Democratic challenger Jewel Scott, who carried 35 percent of the vote, as well as challenger Dabouze Antoine, who garnered 13 percent of the vote.
Edmondson said that his support this year is greater than during his 2006 election, in which he garnered 41 percent of the vote in the primary and went into a runoff.
"Four years ago, I looked out the window and decided Clayton County could be better than it was," Edmondson said. "This time, I have a substantial lead, which means it will not go to a runoff. This tells me that my work in the community has made a difference. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do ... but I am proud to be the person they [voters] support."
Jewel Scott could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.