Bebe Heiskell beats write-in opponent in Walker County

photo Walker County commissioner running for reelection Bebe Heiskell smiles as her supporters celebrate a gain in the election Tuesday night at her campaign headquarters in Rock Spring, Ga. Heiskell won the election, defeating write-in candidate Ales Campbell, and remains the sole commissioner in Walker County.

Incumbent Walker County, Ga., Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell received more than twice as many votes as her write-in challenger Ales Campbell in Tuesday's election.

The unofficial tally showed 13,380 votes for Heiskell, a Republican. County Election Supervisor Barbara Berry said 5,851 write-in votes were cast. It was unclear how many of those were cast for Campbell.

"I'm very pleased. I thank all the voters who voted for me, and I'll do my very best to support them for the next four years," Heiskell said.

Heiskell, 73, will serve her fourth term in what a recent front-page Wall Street Journal article called "one of the rarest political jobs in the U.S." The article focused on Campbell's campaign pledge to seek to give voters a chance to swap out the county's sole commissioner form of government for a five-member commission.

"That many people voted for me as a write-in candidate," Campbell said. "I believe that we have started something, and I will continue to work toward it. I'm not going anywhere."

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Heiskell said the vote shows residents are satisfied with the sole commissioner form of government.

If Walker County residents want to vote on a five-member commission, Heiskell said, they can petition their legislative delegation to put it before voters.

"It's up to the people, not the county commissioner," Heiskell said.

Heiskell said her fourth bid for office was difficult.

"It's been a hard race, the hardest race I've ever been through," she said.

Vote totals do not include federally mandated provisional ballots and are unofficial until certified by the secretary of state's office.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@times or 423-757-6651.