In a race that was neck-and-neck throughout the night, former Rincon city manager Wesley Corbitt won the Republican primary forEffinghamCountycommission chairman over incumbent Wendall Kessler.
Corbitt garnered 1,619 votes, edging Kessler by 90 votes. Corbitt got 51.4 percent of the vote, while Kessler got 48.6 percent.
“In a democratic society, the voters get to choose,” Kessler said, “and if that’s the way the vote goes, then that’s the way it is.”
Both Corbitt and Kessler received the same amount of in-person advance votes, 326. Corbitt outpolled Kessler 1,248-1,164 on election day.
Corbitt won 10 of the 17 precincts on voting day, and the closest was 3C, which Corbitt won 135-132.
“I am very thankful for all those who supported and voted for me in the recent election,” Corbitt said. “I am thankful for all who participated in the election process by taking time to cast a vote and make their opinion heard, regardless of their candidate of choice.”
With no Democratic opposition, Corbitt is the presumptive next commission chairman.
Kessler won the post four years ago, winning the primary and eventually taking the general election. He said he will continue to conduct his responsibilities until he turns over the seat to Corbitt at the end of the year.
“The slim margin of victory shows that Wendell Kessler is both loved and appreciated by many,” Corbitt said. “I look forward to working with Wendell for a smooth transition and to learn how I might support initiatives that are important to him as well.”
Kessler had two meetings on county business the day after the primary, with additional meetings Thursday and Friday. Some of the meetings centered on the central rec complex, which Kessler has championed.
“I’ll keep going like the voters elected me to do and finish out my term,” Kessler said. “The county will go on. There are five good commissioners sitting there. The county is in good shape.”
Corbitt said he looks forward to the opportunity to serve the county and its residents.
“Though I pray that my heart of service and my years of business experience will prove a valuable addition to the board,” he said. “I know that the most important item on my agenda for now must be to listen and learn from those currently serving and the citizens I will represent.”