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Bell defeats incumbent Mack for commission seat
Deborah Mack, right, sits with Mary Jones while talking to supporters as she checks early returns for the Post 4 Hall County Commission seat Tuesday night. Mack was defeated by Ashley Bell in the contest. - photo by Tom Reed
They say the third time's the charm.

And for Ashley Bell, it was his third run for political office against incumbent Hall County Commissioner Deborah Mack that proved victorious Tuesday.

Bell beat Mack with a strong 58 percent of the vote.

"I'm up for the challenge," Bell said. "I'm looking forward to representing my hometown on the county commission."

In 2004, Bell ran as a Democrat in District 26 against state Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, and in 2006 for a Gainesville City Council seat against Danny Dunagan.

Bell, a local attorney and Gainesville native, beat Mack for the District 4 commission seat she's held since 2002 when she was elected to complete the remaining term of Frances Meadows, who died in office.

"It's something we worked really hard for," Bell said. "It was a good night. Deborah is a great lady, she's a friend of mine. I think she's had a wonderful tenure as far as being able to participate in the process and fill the void left by the beloved Frances Meadows. I accept my role now as part of that legacy of leadership to represent Gainesville on the Hall County Commission. That's pretty humbling."

Mack was in good spirits Tuesday evening.

"I'm happy for him. The voters have spoken, I have nothing to say against anybody. I ran a clean race," Mack said. "When the Lord closes one door He has another one open somewhere else."

Mack said she plans to continue working in the community and currently does not have any plans to run for other offices.

Bell, who is married to local Barack Obama delegate Lauren Bell, will be the youngest on the commission at age 27 when he takes office in January. He was at the Bayou Restaraunt with supporters and campaign members as the results came in Tuesday.

Bell said he is not only looking forward to working with the other county commissioners but building a good working relationship with the Gainesville City Council.

Bell said between now and January he will be getting to know the other commissioners and learning about the position.

"I'm going to use this time wisely and try to catch up and learn as much as I can...I think I owe my constituents that same dedication to go ahead and start now so we don't miss a beat when it comes to January.

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