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Boff edges Tressler by 29 votes
Tressler Loses 1 es
Julie Tressler grabs Brian Tam in a tense moment as the runoff election results come in Tuesday night at Tam's Backstage restaurant in Cumming. Tressler fell to Jim Boff by 29 votes in the race for the District 5 seat on the Forsyth County commission. Tam is the District 2 commissioner. - photo by Emily Saunders

It was too close for comfort. On that point, both candidates could agree.

In the end, though, Jim Boff held off a challenge from Julie Tressler in Tuesday's runoff election to win the District 5 seat on the Forsyth County commission by 29 votes.

Boff received 3,158 votes, or about 50.2 percent, while Tressler got 3,129 votes, or about 49.8 percent.

"I don't know how it could have been closer really," Tressler said. "I'm gonna spend the next four years wondering where I could have found 29 more votes."

In fact, the results were so close that Tressler and Boff tied in both the Riverclub and St. Marlo precincts.

Boff carried the Polo precinct by one vote, while Tressler came out a single vote ahead in Daves Creek.

It most likely will not be enough to alter Tuesday's decision, but the candidates could each receive more votes when the provisional/absentee tally is conducted Friday.

Tressler could also ask for a recount, something she had not ruled out as of Wednesday morning.

Forsyth County elections chief Gary J. Smith said Tressler has until Tuesday to ask for a recount. The request must be in writing.

"It's not out of the question," Tressler said Wednesday morning. "I may request a recount, but it's too early to say."

If nothing changes radically, Tressler said, she plans to concede the race Friday following the final results.

Boff and his supporters gathered Tuesday night at the Aberdeen Clubhouse in south Forsyth, where Boff said he gave his acceptance speech minutes after learning the final results.

"It was closer than I thought it would be, but the amount of support I got was fabulous," he said.

Tressler supporters huddled at Tam's Backstage restaurant in Cumming to watch the results filter in precinct by precinct.

"We worked as hard as we could at this," Tressler said afterward. "Obviously, I'm disappointed, but I feel like we ran a good race."

Tressler also said she was grateful for the support she received.

"I'm really proud of the people I had in my camp," she said. "I came into this race as an underdog, and to get within 29 votes of it, I guess I need to feel good about this whole thing."

She felt good enough about it to not rule out another run for office in the future.

No Democrat sought the post and incumbent District 5 Commissioner Linda Ledbetter did not run for a second term. Boff will begin serving his four-year term in January.

Commissioners receive the bulk of their compensation based on the the number of meetings they attend. They are paid $125 per meeting for up to 20 meetings per month.

They are routinely paid for the maximum number of meetings each month. District 5 Commissioner Linda Ledbetter made $34,924.55 in 2007.

Boff, a 56-year-old retiree, led what was originally a field of four candidates in the July 15 primary, but he failed to reach the 50 percent majority needed to win outright.

He received 44 percent of the vote last month, while Tressler took in 35 percent. Terry Sweeney received 9 percent and Walter Waddell 12 percent.

The commission district, which covers Cumming and much of eastern Forsyth, was one of three on the July 15 ballot.

Brian Tam won re-election in south Forsyth's District 2, besting three Republican challengers with 55 percent of the vote.

In District 4, or north Forsyth, Patrick Bell defeated incumbent David Richard, also with 55 percent of the vote. Bell will face Democrat Jon Flack in the Nov. 4 election.