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Grady County elections officials say that it has been “painfully slow” at the Board of Registrars Office since advance voting began Feb. 25. for two special elections.
For the past two-and-a-half weeks, poll workers have manned the polls but as of Tuesday, only 88 voters had voted in the District 5 Grady County Commission special election and the turnout in the countywide Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum was only slightly better with 172 ballots cast.
Voters have until 4:30 p.m. this Friday, March 15, to cast early ballots and then on Tuesday, March 19, the county’s 13 polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The District 5 special election is being held to pick a replacement for District 5 Grady County Commissioner T.D. David, who resigned late last year due to health issues and has recently died.
Phillip E. Drew, 54, and Jesse Ryan Schober, 28, are vying for the District 5 post vacated by David. The late commissioner was the sole candidate to qualify last year and was elected automatically to another four-year term, which will expire Dec. 31, 2022. The winner of the March 19 special election will serve out the remainder of David’s term.
Drew, son of the late Howard and Maxine Drew, recently sold his family business, Drew Oil, to Bainbridge-based Triple T/Sharber Oil Company. Drew continues to work in sales and service with the new owners of his former firm.
He and his wife, the former Jenny Clark, continue to own and operate Grady Oil Company on Fifth Street S.E., Drew’s Service Station on North Broad Street, and D-G Mini-Warehouses.
The Drews are members of Eastside Baptist Church.
The District 5 candidate and his wife are the parents of two grown children, Justin, 27, a pharmacist in Tifton, and Blaine, 30, a student enrolled in the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon.
Schober works as a paralegal for a Tallahassee law firm and is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He has served for the last seven years in both active duty and reserves. During his Air Force service, he was stationed for six months at Moody AFB in Valdosta.
Schober and his wife, Logan, a special education teacher at Southside Elementary School, have been residents of Cairo for three years, as of February. The couple and their two children, Emmalyne “Lemon,” 6, and John Fitzgerald “Fitz,” who turns 2 in March, reside at 290 Muggridge Lane S.E. in Cairo.
Schober is originally from Freeport, Fla., which is across the bay from Destin.
While only voters in District 5 can cast ballots in the county commission race, all registered voters can vote on the ESPLOST referendum.