and Blenda Link

THOMASVILLE -- The Democratic Thomas County chief magistrate challenger defeated the longtime incumbent in the Tuesday primary.

Challenger S. Andrews "Andy" Seery defeated Chief Magistrate Grace D. Garland by 555 votes.

Seery carried 18 of the county's 20 precincts. Voters in Meigs and Boston went for Garland.

Seery reaped 59.87 percent of the vote to Garland's 40.13 percent in a voter turnout of a little less than 33 percent.

In the Republican chief magistrate contest, Tim Louderback garnered the most votes. He and Ken Taylor, the next highest vote-getter, will face each other in the Aug. 30 primary runoff.

GOP candidate Jessica Faulk came in third.

Louderback received 1,449 votes to 1,080 for Taylor and 541 for Faulk.

Faulk took Meigs. Louderback led in 15 precincts, to five for Taylor.

Some 47.2 percent of the vote was for Louderback, 35.18 percent for Taylor and 17.62 percent for Faulk.

"What can I say? I still love the people of Thomas County, and I'm grateful to them, and it's been a great ride," Garland said after votes were counted Tuesday night.

At 9:20 p.m., it appeared Seery was in the lead.

"I feel good," Seery said. "I feel very pleased with the turnout."

Garland has done the community a great service, Seery said.

"She's a good woman," he added. "She's served very well for us as a good judge."

"I would like to carry on the tradition that she has established for that office," Seery said after all votes had been counted.

Louderback was excited as votes were tallied.

The worst-case scenario would be a runoff, and the best-case scenario would be winning outright, he explained.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't win outright, but we have another 20 days now to get our message out there," Taylor said. "And I still think we're the best chance for the Republican party to win in November."

"I think I did a pretty good job considering as young as I am, and this is my very first political election," Faulk said.

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