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Banks, Lutz in runoff for South Hall post on board
Senter supports incumbent in GOP commission race
HALLCOMcraig lutz 0608
Craig Lutz

Election Guide

Bobby Banks
: 56
Residence: Chestnut Mountain
Political experience: Served one term as the District 1 Commissioner.
Background: Banks is a partner in a trucking company with his wife, Connie. They have three children.

Craig Lutz
: 42
Residence: Flowery Branch
Political experience: Served two years as Flowery Branch city councilman. Resigned to run for commission.
Background: Lutz works for AT&T, and is married with two daughters.

On Tuesday, voters will have a second chance to pick their Republican nominee for the District 1 seat on the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Incumbent Bobby Banks and Craig Lutz will compete one-on-one after third candidate Kimbo Senter was eliminated in the July 20 primary.

The winner of Tuesday's election will face Democrat Paul Wayne Godfrey in the Nov. 2 general election.

In the July 20 primary, Banks finished first with 44 percent of the vote. Lutz finished in second with 29 percent, just slightly ahead of Senter, who earned 27 percent.

Earlier this week, Senter announced he is endorsing Banks in the runoff, saying he felt their platforms were similar.

Lutz, though, said he felt confident many of Senter's anti-incumbent supporters would vote for him.

Primary results show geography played a role in the vote. Banks was consistently the top vote-getter, but Lutz, a former Flowery Branch councilman, received a large number of votes in that city. Senter had higher numbers in his hometown of Chestnut Mountain.

Both Lutz and Banks acknowledged it will be crucial for voters to return to the polls Tuesday. In runoff elections, turnout is often a challenge.

But with three runoffs on the Republican ticket, including the gubernatorial race and the 9th District U.S. House seat, the county commission contest may see a fair number of returning voters.

Interim Hall County Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said that as of Friday, early voting numbers showed that of 2,599 Republican votes cast, 569 voters, or 22 percent, were from commission Post 1.

Commissioner Ashley Bell said whoever wins the South Hall seat will need to be prepared to handle the county's top issue: the economy.

He said commissioners will be faced with tough decisions as the county continues to battle low sales tax revenue and the challenges of austerity measures.

"We've done a lot of temporary stopgap measures, but we can't exist like this for another two to three years," Bell said. "Our job is to come up with the policy for the long term. This seat is going to signify a big piece of that puzzle.

"All of us have a great obligation to the county as a whole."