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Echols beats Smith to win re-election
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Hall County Tax Commissioner Keith Echols smiles as election results turn in his favor Tuesday night while watching the results with family and friends at his election headquarters at Rabbittown Cafe. Incumbent Echols defeated challenger J.C. Smith for Hall County Tax Commissioner.
Keith Echols won a close race to maintain his position as Hall County tax commissioner after beating opponent J.C. Smith with 52 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election.

"I'd like to thank the Lord for helping me win my third term and my supporters and all the voters that voted for me," Echols said.

Echols said he doesn't know what the deciding factor was for the close race, but did have some speculation.

"He had a mailer out accusing me of some wrong-doings in the office with the money and the bank reconciliations and maybe some of the people just didn't like it and the approach that he made during his campaign."

Smith, who is retired from the University of Georgia's Small Business Development Center, said before the election he wanted to improve management in the tax assessor's office. He could not be reached at press time Tuesday.

Audit findings of the tax commissioner's office from 2006 and 2007 show that bank statements were not reconciled for the entire year.

Echols, who was elected in 2000, said he is interested in moving out of the main tax office because of the parking situation and other complications.

"I talked about maybe moving out and just having two offices, a north Hall and a South Hall. We enlarged the South Hall office last year."

Echols was at the Rabbitown Cafe with supporters Tuesday as the election results came in.


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