Aug. 17--Whitfield County Magistrate Judge Kaye Cope and her opponent in the Tuesday general primary runoff, Jerry Leonard, agree on one thing: turnout will decide who wins.
"That's going to be the important thing. Getting people to go back out to the polls," said Cope. "I've sent out some reminder cards, and I've been talking to people, reminding them to get out and vote."
Leonard said he has also been trying to get people back to vote.
"I've been trying to talk to my supporters, the people who voted for the other two candidates and even some people who might have voted for Kaye," he said. "People tell me I'm right where I need to be. The person in second place usually comes back to win the runoff."
Cope has served as a magistrate judge for 28 years. She received 5,198 votes (47.76 percent) in a four-way nonpartisan election on July 21. She just missed the 50 percent plus one threshold needed to avoid the runoff. Jerry Leonard, who is in the insurance business, received 2,362 votes (21.7 percent). Also in the race were Phillip Croy, retired from UPS who received 1,144 votes (10.51 percent), and Don Allen Garrett, director of the Whitfield County Animal Shelter, who received 2,165 votes (19.89 percent).
Magistrate Court handles civil claims of $15,000 or less, certain misdemeanor criminal offenses, county ordinance violations and some deposit account fraud cases. Judges can issue arrest and search warrants, and the court handles preliminary hearings and summonses.
Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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