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One incumbent wins, another loses in hot races

7:35 AM, Aug 22, 2012   |    comments
  • Challenger Jeff Turner and Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell
  • Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee and former Chairman Bill Byrne
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ATLANTA -- It looks like the third time wasn't lucky for incumbent Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell.

In making his bid for a third term, Bell stumbled in the July 31st primary election, coming in second to challenger Jeff Turner.

In Tuesday's runoff, Turner beat him by better than a two-to-one margin.

In a sense, it was payback for Turner.

Bell, a former Atlanta Police Chief, forced Turner out of his job as Clayton County Police Chief in 2009.

Now Turner will get Bell's job since there is no Republican challenger in November.

Another reason Bell may have lost was his outspoken support for T-SPLOST, the transportation sales tax that failed dismally on July 31st.

On the other side of metro Atlanta, incumbent Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee also suffered shrapnel damage from the T-SPLOST explosion.

He not only supported it, but helped draw up the unpopular project list that helped sink the tax three weeks ago.

After only one term, Lee was forced into a runoff by former Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne.

But it looks like Lee survived his wounds.

Trailing earlier Tuesday night, he came from behind to pull out a narrow victory over Byrne, who served in the job from 1992 to 2002.

Byrne may also have suffered from several controversies during his previous chairmanship.

Lee faces no Democratic challenger in November.

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