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Runoff results: Incumbents fall
Challengers topple sheriff, commissioner
Stevie Mills, right, congratulates Cindy Jones Mills on winning the Forsyth County commission District 4 contest Tuesday night during a gathering at her home. - photo by Autumn Vetter

At a glance


U.S. House District 9

11 of 11 precincts reporting

* Doug Collins — 2,492 votes, or 45 percent

* Martha Zoller — 3,075 votes, or 55 percent



23 of 23 precincts reporting

* Ted Paxton (I) — 6,624 votes, or 49 percent

* Duane Piper — 6,965 votes, or 51 percent



23 of 23 precincts reporting

* Harold Bennett — 5,510 votes, or 42 percent

* Mary Beth Pais — 7,485 votes, or 58 percent


Commission District 4

8 of 8 precincts reporting

* Patrick Bell (I) — 1,316 votes, or 34 percent

* Cindy Mills — 2,508 votes, or 66 percent


Source: Forsyth County Elections Office

Forsyth voters settled three Republican races for local office Tuesday, electing a new sheriff, county commissioner and coroner.

In the closest balloting of the evening, challenger Duane Piper toppled three-term incumbent Sheriff Ted Paxton by 341 votes.

Sheriff was among two countywide contests on the ballot, with Mary Beth Pais holding off Harold Bennett to become the next coroner.

Also Tuesday, voters in District 4 elected Cindy Jones Mills their next county commissioner.

None of the winners face opposition in the General Election on Nov. 6 and will take office in January.

“Turnout was great, 13.62 percent is more than I thought,” said Barbara Luth, the county’s elections supervisor. “It was real smooth today. We didn’t have any problems with the precincts. We only had six provisional ballots.”

About 4,000 residents voted during the early and advance voting periods for the runoff, and another nearly 9,800 on Tuesday.

“Every vote does count,” Luth said. “I’ve seen it happen before that an incumbent loses a runoff because a lot of people think, ‘Well, they’ll get in it’s not a problem. The incumbent always wins.’ But it’s not true.”

Runoff elections typically draw about a 5 percent turnout, but Luth said Forsyth constantly surprises her.

Many voters in the north end of the county also had a congressional race on their ballot, helping set the Nov. 6 field for District 9 U.S. House of Representatives post.

Although she secured 55 percent of the vote in Forsyth, Martha Zoller fell to Doug Collins in balloting across a district of northeast Georgia that includes all or parts of 20 counties.

Collins will face Jody Cooley, a Democrat from Gainesville, this fall.

The congressional race saw a lot of interest locally. About 20 percent, or 5,799 of the 28,651, of registered voters in Forsyth’s portion of the district chose to cast a ballot.

Nearly 21 percent, or 3,890, of 18,669 eligible voters participated in the District 4 commission race.

“I’m glad it was a big turnout. I like having people come out and vote,” Luth said.

“Now we’ll get started with the November election, in fact, we’ve already started working on November.”