Longtime Oconee County tourism volunteer and supporter Maria Caudill will be making her second run for political office as the fourth person to announce their intention to seek the currently vacant Board of Commissioners Post 2 seat, left unoccupied by Chairman-elect John Daniell's ascension to the top stop from BOC earlier this year.
The Oconee Enterprise contends - without merit or being correct - that the race will be decided by a winner take all format, meaning the person with the most votes wins outright, even without a majority. This is factually inaccurate, as the county charter would be the deciding matter, and our country charter evidently does not address special elections per se. I have never seen the actual charter, so I could be totally wrong on that, and I could not find it online today.
To the Enterprise's defense, they were evidently told some erroneous information from the Oconee County Board of Elections office. I was given the correct information a couple hours after the newspaper went to press, and I have been informed a correction will be forthcoming.
Having been in a run off myself in 2011, I can tell you without hesitation that the math for Georgia elections has always been the same, and that special elections are no different. You win with 50% plus one outright, or there is a run off, when there are more than two candidates.
Caudill's entry into the race all but guarantees a run off for the November race with already well established candidates Chuck Horton, Marcus Wiedower, and Ben Bridges having all ready thrown their hats into the ring. While the possibility exists of any of those four candidates receiving (at least) 50% of the vote plus one more vote to quash a run-off, the likelihood of all four candidates receiving around 25% of the tally would be a much stronger possibility at this very premature point.
Caudill ran against Bubber Wilkes and then-incumbent Margaret Hale in the 2014 race and came up short. The 30% of the popular vote received by Board of Commissioner candidates Sarah Bell and Penny Mills might suggest that Caudill could be the early favorite for this race.
As always, this race will boil down to who can get out and meet the voters and convince them to actually go vote. It will not be decided by slick mailers, facebook friends, or reputation alone.