Cobb County residents took to the polls Tuesday to voice their opinion on who should lead the board of commissioners, and that voice materialized as a resounding rejection of current chairman Tim Lee.
Lee was defeated after receiving 37 percent of the vote, compared to the 63 percent received by challenger and victor Mike Boyce, Smyrna Patch reports.
Before Boyce was officially declared the winner, Lee conceded shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday night, bringing to an end a race that was largely focused on the commission’s work in bringing the Atlanta Braves to Smyrna and building their new home, SunTrust Park.
As the Cobb Commissioner chairman, Lee was a leader in negotiating the team’s move to Cobb County from downtown Atlanta, which is expected to bring jobs and revenue to the area.
Boyce, Lee’s challenger and a retired Marine colonel, derided the deal, which was decided on by the Board of Commissioners and never brought in front of county residents in the form of a referendum. Boyce’s campaign website lists “transparent governance” as one of the three keystones of his platform, and promised “no more deals like the Braves stadium bond without a full airing by both the public and the Board of Commissioners.”
Boyce won a plurality of the vote in the May 25 election with 49 percent of the vote but was unable to capture the needed majority until the recent runoff.
The AJC reports that many in Lee’s camp attribute the loss to the “Trump effect:” incumbent Republicans losing to Republican challengers because of the anti-establishment atmosphere being promoted by GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Those on Boyce’s side see a different reason for the outcome: money. Under Chairman Lee, the Board of Commissioners promised $400 million in county money to the Braves in order to construct their new ballpark off of Circle 75 Parkway.
“Cobb County is a very conservative county and people simply want the respect shown to them that if you’re going to use their money, you have to ask them,” Boyce said.
Boyce is likely to win the general election in November as no Democrat has entered the race.