The 'Steves' win decisive run-off victories
by Matt Shinall and Mark Andrews
Aug 22, 2012 | 3712 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County’s newly elected  County Commissioner Steve Taylor and new Tax Comissioner Steve Stewart watch last night’s votes come in.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Bartow County’s newly elected County Commissioner Steve Taylor and new Tax Comissioner Steve Stewart watch last night’s votes come in. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Bartow County Commissioner-elect Steve Taylor at his victory celebration with his granddaughter Abby Cooney and mother Yvonne Taylor.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Bartow County Commissioner-elect Steve Taylor at his victory celebration with his granddaughter Abby Cooney and mother Yvonne Taylor. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Bartow County Tax Commissioner- elect Steve Stewart and his wife Connie watch election returns Tuesday night.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Bartow County Tax Commissioner- elect Steve Stewart and his wife Connie watch election returns Tuesday night. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Taylor takes run-off victory to become commissioner-elect

By Matt Shinall

matt.shinall@daily-tribune.com

Carrying 60 percent of Tuesday’s runoff vote, Steve Taylor will take office Jan. 1 as Bartow County’s next sole commissioner.

After months of campaigning in a race that began with five candidates resulting in a runoff between Taylor and Mike Bearden, 8,617 Bartow voters cast their ballots for the county’s highest office.

“We’ve had a good run. We’ve worked for seven months. We’ve worked hard, we’ve had a lot of support. Ran against four great candidates, great citizens of Bartow County and I appreciate each one of them offering themselves for service. Mike Bearden called me and congratulated me and he was a perfect gentleman. He told me we’d be talking at a later date and offered me his support,” Taylor said. “Mike comes from a great Bartow County family ... and so did Tony Tidwell, Mike Abernathy and Tracy Lewis. I just appreciate all they did and all they gave for this race.”

Bearden collected 40 percent of the vote Tuesday, or 3,405 votes, compared to Taylor’s 5,212. In a statement to The Daily Tribune News, Bearden thanked his supporters and volunteers while offering his support to Taylor.

“First and foremost, to God be the glory of this campaign and congratulations to Steve on his well-earned victory. I look forward to his leadership in the county and I give him whatever support from my modest direction he might wish and wish nothing but well for him and certainly for the county in these tough times,” Bearden said. “I’m just humbled, honored and uplifted by the huge outpouring of support that our campaign has received in the last months. I’m just so thankful for the connections and reconnections to my beloved county. ... It has been a wonderful experience and my life has been enriched for it.”

Taylor will be taking a week off following his campaign efforts and plans to begin learning the ropes soon after he returns. He looks for economic conditions to form the largest challenges, including the budget and revenue.

“I’m ready to go. We’ll actually be starting to get the ball rolling when we return. The first step in my transition will be to nail down the county administrator and find out who is going to have that position and we’ll go from there. I’ll talk to all the department heads and then I want to meet with the county employees too — a lot of this is going to take place over the next four months.”

Filling an office to be vacated by Clarence Brown, who has held the position for 20 years, Taylor will be stepping in as the department’s senior members leave. With Brown, County Administrator Steve Bradley also will retire in January. Taylor has asked both for their support in the transition and looks forward to working with them in the months leading to his inauguration.

“Clarence Brown has been great for Bartow County and I’ve got a challenge in front of me and of course the biggest challenge is going to be dealing with the budget and shrinking revenues, but I’m going to lean on Clarence and Steve Bradley for support and they have offered their help during the transition and even after that if I need it.”

All votes are unofficial until certified by the Bartow County Board of Election and Georgia Secretary of State. Provisional ballots remain uncounted.

Stewart wins tax commissioner race

By Mark Andrews

mark.andrews@daily-tribune.com

Steve Stewart has won the Bartow County Tax Commissioner runoff race against opponent Vicki Beck, receiving 5,212 votes against Beck’s 3,405.

“I just want to say ‘thank you.’ I’m really humbled to be the next tax commissioner,” Stewart said. “Ms. Beck ran a real good race and had me on my toes the whole time this last 21 days ... there have been a lot of sleepless nights, but we came out on top.”

He said he appreciated receiving a call from opponent Beck earlier in the night.

“I’d just like to thank all the voters in Bartow County and I’m going to try and be the best tax commissioner I can be,” Stewart said.

VaLenda Baily announced earlier this year she would not run for reelection, after serving 38 years in the position. Stewart will be sworn into the position Jan. 1, 2013.

All votes are unofficial until certified by the Bartow County Board of Election and Georgia Secretary of State. Provisional ballots remain uncounted.

Calls to Beck for comment were not returned at press time.