By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
PUTNAM COUNTY – Over one-third of the faces will be new when the newly elected Putnam County Commission meets for the first time in September. Nine new commissioners were elected to the board with two commission districts, District 3 and District 5, having both commissioners new.
In District 1, Fred Vondra and current commissioner Jonathan A.D. Williams were unopposed, with Vondra receiving 444 votes and Williams receiving 562 votes.
Current commissioner Sam Sandlin, who received 564 votes, was the top vote getter in District 2 and also received the most votes of any commission candidate. There was a close race for the second District 2 seat with Ron Chaffin receiving 469 votes to J. Mark Hutchins’ 451 votes.
Two new faces were unopposed in District 3 with Chevin Eldridge receiving 68 votes and David Gentry receiving 102 votes.
The race for District 4 in the eastern portion of the county is a tight one. Ken Hall easily took the first seat with 426 votes, but current commissioner Theresa G Tayes narrowly defeated Rafferty Cleary by only five votes, with Tayes receiving 384 votes to Cleary’s 379.
In District 5, Junior C Phipps (469) and Vinnie Faccinto (421) edged out former commissioner Johnnie Wheeler (406) to represent the district.
District 6 will be represented by unopposed Adam Johnson receiving 333 votes and current commissioner Chris Cassetty who received 360 votes.
In District 7, current commissioners Grover N. Bennett, Jr. (410) and Andrew “AJ” Donadio (487) took the seats with Mike Medley receiving 289 votes.
Current Commissioners Danny Holmes (407) and Ben Rodgers (344) were unopposed to represent District 8.
District 9 will be represented by current commissioner Dale Moss with 428 votes. Former Jimmy Neal, who recently expressed his intent to resign if reelected, received 213 votes. The Putnam County Commission will decide the status of this seat.
Current commissioners Kim Bradford (318) and Terry Randolph (288) will represent District 10, where Robert L. Owens II received 176 votes after announcing his intention to cease his campaign after receiving another job.
Districts 11 and 12 were both four-person races that drew considerably more votes than any other district.
In District 11, current commissioners Kathy Dunn (445) and Darren Wilson (384) easily won reelection over Marsha K Bowman (282) and Camille Fliss-Mayberry (206).
In District 12, there was a shake-up with former sheriff and county commissioner David Andrews, after an eight-year break from politics, receiving the most votes. Andrews received 511 votes, and current commissioner Cathy Qualls Reel took the sec ond seat with 400 votes. Tammy Adkins Hoover received 348 votes, and current commissioner Mike Atwood received 296 votes.
The top three vote getters among all the commission candidates were Sandlin receiving 564 votes, closely followed by Williams with 562 and Andrews with 511 votes.