A contest to replace retiring Troup County Commissioner Ken Smith has come down two two candidates.
Tripp Foster and Ellen Gilmore were the top vote-getters in a primary that drew five challengers. They will face a runoff Aug. 21. Foster received 24.73 percent of the vote and Gilmore received 22.07 percent.
Other vote-getters were Lewis Davis Jr. with 21.25 percent, Tim Duffey with 14.43 percent and Ashley McCoy with 17.53 percent.
Foster, a former Troup County firefighter who owns his own tree service, said he learned a lot during the campaign and is looking forward to the two-person race.
“I can’t wait for the sun to come up tomorrow,” he said. “We’re going to go to work and earn the hearts and minds of the people in district three. I am the most positive change they can get.”
Gilmore, who is retired, but active in the local Republican party and Tea Party, said she will work on getting her supporters out and setting the distinctions between Foster and herself.
“There are distinct differences between the two of us,” she said. “I’m sure that will be worked out in the next week.”
Gilmore said she was pleased to see voters supported her and “saw through the smear campaign,” an effort by Citizens for the Future of Troup County that mailed out fliers against certain candidates in the waning days of the campaign. Gilmore was a target of the fliers.
“I’m glad people saw through the wisdom of that campaign and had the wisdom to cast their vote,” she said.
Duffey, who had previously served as commission chairman, said there was an anti-incumbent wave throughout the county this year and many thought he was an incumbent. He said he would consider endorsing Gilmore or Foster after he has a chance to speak with each of them.
Davis said he wouldn’t be endorsing a candidate.
“I will just let voters make decision, I don’t think it’s my place,” he said. “I ran a clean campaign and came out on short end. I congratulate (Foster and Gilmore) and wish them the best.”
McCoy did not return phone calls for comment.
Whoever wins on Aug. 21 will face DeeDee Williams in the November general election.