The race to replace retiring Commission Jason Nelms will head to a runoff July 22.
West took the District 1 seat with 3,417 votes and 52 percent of the vote, while Johnston pulled in 3,194 votes, or 48 percent of those who voted.
West, who is 53 and owns a steel and metal fabrication company, said his victory was one for the people of the county who have been looking for a solution to the Ball Ground Recycling situation.
“The citizens have been looking for a legal solution to the Bobo boondoggle,” West said, referencing the county’s woes with its costly, failed venture with the now-defunct recycling operation. “They won a superior victory and a political solution. I look forward to serving the people of Cherokee County and District 1.”
After 14 years on the commission, Johnston said of course he was disappointed.
“But it’s been a good run,” said Johnston, a 61-year-old accounting manager at Southern Company. “I really want to thank all the people who supported me. I’m sorry I let them down.”
Johnston said he wishes West well in office.
“I do believe he was not the primary instigator in the negative attacks that were used against me,” the longtime commissioner added, referencing phone calls and advertisements against his candidacy.
Ahrens beat out former Holly Springs City Councilwoman Jackie Archer, with 12,373 votes, or 58 percent of the 21,397 ballots cast in the race, according to the unofficial results. Ahrens, whose victory means an unprecedented third term in office, said he was anxious to get back to work for Cherokee County.
“I’m delighted that the voters in Cherokee chose the proven leadership and results we have shown them over the last eight years,” said Ahrens, 70, a retired executive from Rubbermaid. “I’m looking forward to four more to ensure this county is the best it can be.”
Archer received 9,024 votes, or 42 percent of those cast.
Archer, a 49-year-old realtor and member of the Cherokee Development Authority, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
In the race for the District 4 seat, Woodstock residents Larry Singleton and Kenneth Scott Gordon were the top candidates and will now compete in the runoff, after they overcame Joe Robert.
The candidates were seeking the Republican nomination for their seats in the November election. But with no candidates running from outside the GOP, the winner of the run-off will be set to sail into office.
In the race to replace Nelms, who didn’t seek a second term, Singleton, a former Cherokee commissioner, came out on top with 1,678 votes, or 41 percent, with Gordon coming in second with 1,409 votes, or 34 percent. Robert trailed the field with 1,013 ballots cast in his favor and 25 percent.
Singleton, a 55-year-old who heads a real estate appraisal business, said he was ready for the runoff.
“We’re excited that we got 41 percent of the vote,” said Singleton, who was on the commission for one term, ending in 2003. “We were hoping to win it all, because for the last 10 days, we knocked on the doors of 2,500 homes. We’re going to keep working hard.”
Gordon, 47, a Woodstock Planning Commission member, said he looked forward to the race to the finish in the runoff, which he said he had expected as a possibility from the beginning.
“I am blessed and humbled by the support of the voters that have placed me in the position to move forward in the process,” the architect said after the results were in Tuesday. “I want to thank my wife, children, family and friends for encouraging me to run and for standing with me every step of the way.”
Robert said he was thankful for the support he received, even though it wasn’t enough.
“The voters have spoken,” said Robert, 52, an automotive repair shop owner. “I had some issues, got into the race late. I’m not ashamed of it. It is what it is. I’m proud of what I did. I wish the results would’ve been different.”
Robert said he’ll now throw his support behind Singleton, and “I’ll do anything I can to help him.”
In total, 25,680 of Cherokee’s 125,178 voters turned out to the polls Tuesday, which was a turnout of about 21 percent. The turnout was about what Cherokee elections supervisor Janet Munda predicted last week.