Smyrna’s Dec. 6 runoff election for Wards 4, 5 and 7 is less than a week away, but advanced voting continues through Friday at the .
Advance voting hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those who did not vote in the Nov. 8 general election can still vote in the runoff.
On a raw and wet Tuesday, turnout was very light at community center. Then again, on a picture-perfect Election Day four weeks ago, less than 22 percent of the city’s registered voters (5,638 of 26,223) bothered to head to the polls.
“I do share the disappointment of others that we couldn’t get more people out to vote,’’ said , who is facing in the Ward 7 runoff.
More than 25 percent of registered voters in Ward 7 cast ballots earlier this month and residents in that part of town will get another opportunity to hear from the candidates during a Thursday night public forum hosted by the King Valley at Vinings neighborhood.
The 7 p.m. event at the King Valley Clubhouse located on Queensgate Drive will be covered live by Patch and will be moderated by former Ward 7 candidate , who garnered 18 percent of the vote during the general election.
Fennel finished with 39.25 percent of the votes followed by Osborne with 21.40 percent. At last week’s Smyrna city council meeting, both candidates encouraged citizens to get out and vote. Osborne also took time to reference criticisms of Fennel regarding his position as CEO of the lobbying firm Georgia Capitol Associates, LLC, which advertises services on the federal, state and local level. On the state and local level, it's legal to be both a lobbyist and an elected official.
“I am not a politician,’’ Osborne said. “I am an econ-government teacher at Campbell High School. I’m not now nor never have been a gold dome lobbyist. I don’t have aspirations to be a member of the state legislature or congress.
“What I am is a person thankful to be able to live in Smyrna, Ga., and to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of this city. If I’m elected, I promise I will be proactive in tackling the challenges that face us. I will bring a new perspective and new ideas on how to improve our schools, revive those struggling areas along South Cobb Drive and fill those empty storefronts in the Market Village.’’
Fennel expressed the idea that he would always be accessible to citizens. He also promoted to the council a TEAM Georgia event that he has helped bring to Smyrna this week. TEAM Georgia is a safe and sober driving coalition and Fennel serves as its chairman.
“It’s an honor to be in a race with a man who I have a lot of respect for,’’ said Fennel. “Part of my mission as a member of this city council is to always be available, return your phone calls, and work hard to make the very best decisions possible.
“Our role (with TEAM Georgia) is simply public relations to help create a designated driver program in every community. Our Safe Holiday kickoff will be on Dec. 1 at the Smyrna Community Center.”
The Thursday event, in conjunction with the Smyrna Business Association’s regular monthly meeting, will include a 12 p.m. luncheon followed by a press conference at 1:15 p.m.
The Ward 5 runoff features Cobb Deputy Assistant District Attorney , who garnered 40.35 percent of the votes on Nov. 8, against designer/educator , who got 38.58 percent. Voter turnout in Ward 5 was just 19 percent earlier this month.
“I will be available and accessible to all the voters,’’ Wilkinson said at the Nov. 21 city council meeting.
Saliba stressed his experience and knowledge of building construction (his grandfather started a commercial construction business in the mid-1950s that he worked for), acknowledging that South Cobb Drive construction will be vital in the coming years. He also said he has been assuring voters that he will have the needed time to serve the citizens.
“Several people have looked at my public service and the things I’ve done and asked if I have the time for this,’’ he explained to the council. “If you look, a lot of my public service commitments are past commitments and that was by design. I do have a job where my boss is very supportive…of giving me the time to meet the commitment to serve Ward 5.’’
In Ward 4, incumbent narrowly missed a majority victory in the general election as he finished with 48.57 percent of the votes to outpace , who finished with 32.3 percent. (13.9 percent) and (4.99 percent) did not qualify for the runoff as 26.49 percent of Ward 4 registered voters cast ballots.
“I would ask you who voted for me to once again come out and vote for me again and finish this the second go-round,’’ said Councilman McNabb, who kept his election comments brief at the council meeting.
Welch explained that he had met with both Jones and Bretch and had gained their endorsements (Bretch confirmed such to Patch, Jones was not available for comment). During his campaign, the engineer/project manager has stressed accessibility and his three decades of experience working with North Georgia city officials including mayors and city managers.
And while Bretch didn’t qualify for the runoff, the 31-year-old political newcomer said he would continue to help make the Jonquil City a better place to live.
"I want to thank all of those who voted for and took a chance on not only me as a candidate, but me as a person in this election,’’ said Bretch. “I want you to know that I am extremely humbled by your support as I know it is never easy voting for someone who is not as well known or as established versus those that are. To my opponents, I want to thank them for running a clean-spirited campaign. To Mr. McNabb and Mr. Welch, I congratulate you for making the runoff and I offer the best of luck to you both. Smyrna is my home, and though I will not be able to represent Ward 4 on the council, know that I will always do my best to promote Smyrna and Ward 4 in the best possible light.’’