Bartow school board adds 2 new faces, sees return of familiar one


Bartow County's school board will see a couple of new faces and the return of a familiar face when it convenes for its first meeting in January. 

In Tuesday's midterm election, Republican Tony Ross garnered 80 percent, or 5,311 votes, of the 6,680 votes cast in the District 1 Board of Education race while his opponent, Democrat Larry Slocum, received  20 percent, or 1,369 votes.

In the District 3 contest, incumbent Republican Derek Keeney cruised to victory over Democrat Willie Coombs, 74 percent to 26 percent. Keeney received 4,096 votes to Coombs' 1,415.

Republican Terry Lee Eggert of Cartersville, who defeated District 2 incumbent Dr. Davis Nelson in the Republican primary in May, had no Democratic opposition in this election. 

Ross, who won a place on the November ballot by beating incumbent John Howard in the May Republican primary, said Wednesday he got "wonderful results" from the election.

"The number of people I saw coming into the polls, I thought it was wonderful," he said. 

The owner of Tony Ross Renovations said he was "most definitely" surprised by his margin of victory.

"Anytime you go for this, you always want to get at least 50 percent, and I was very impressed with all my supporters that came out and voted," the White resident said.  

Keeney, an engineering manager, was happy he had enough District 3 supporters to allow him to retain his seat on the board. 

"I am very grateful to the voters for the confidence they have placed in me by allowing me to serve a second term on the board of education," he said. "Pastor Coombs ran a very good campaign, and I applaud him for making himself available for public service. We need good people to choose from in our elections, and I believe Pastor Coombs is certainly a good person and a good choice."

The Cartersville resident said he was "really surprised with the outcome of the election."

"Pastor Coombs had a lot of great support and worked hard in this race," he said. "I am thankful that the voters have placed their confidence in me, and I look forward to this next term."

Keeney also said he appreciated the support of his wife, Beth, and their sons, Daniel, Luke and Tyler, along with the campaign volunteers and others in the community.

"Our school system has accomplished a lot in the past few years," he said. "We have much more work to do, and we have the right team in place to make this the best school system in the state." 

The one-term board member said he enjoys "living, working and serving in our community."

"God has blessed Beth and me with the opportunity to raise our family in Bartow County, and it is incumbent upon us to be good stewards of those blessings by giving back through prayers, presence, gifts and service," he said.

After the polls closed Tuesday night, Keeney, Ross and others waited for the results to come in at an election watch party at C.L. Tidwell's home.

Slocum and Coombs did not respond by deadline to requests for comment.