COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Before the first pitch is thrown out at Sun Trust Park, the man who orchestrated the deal to move the Braves to Cobb County will be out of office.
Cobb County’s Commission Chairman Tim Lee lost Tuesday night's runoff election to challenger Mike Boyce.
Boyce ran a knock-on-doors grassroots campaign on largely one issue – Cobb citizens anger over not being allowed to vote on spending millions to help build the Atlanta Braves' new stadium. SunTrust Park, which will open in spring 2017, is partially funded with $400 million from Cobb taxpayers.
"I want to emphasize this -- it's never been about the Braves. They are a business and they did what they had to do for their shareholders. The issue was transparent and open government and transparency, and this was never brought to the people in a way that reflected that," Boyce said Tuesday night.
Boyce had little funding, but many volunteers who backed his campaign.
Lee, on the other hand, had a lot of funding, and peppered mailboxes with fliers and streets with signs and billboards. He had an active campaign, touting the economic advantage the Braves project has and will have for the county, as well as championing his proposed tax cuts the commission voted on Tuesday night.
But many voters Channel 2's Ross Cavitt spoke to at the polls Tuesday said they couldn't get over their anger at having no say in the deal.
“A lot of people don’t like the way the Braves deal went down. That’s one of the reasons I’m here today because we had no say," one voter said.
“(We need to) make sure that some things are going to change. That’s the only way we're going to do anything is to vote these people out,” another voter told Cavitt.
Lee told Cavitt Tuesday night that if the Braves deal is what led to his defeat, he wouldn't change a thing.
"It was transparent. It was open. Folks just bought on to misunderstanding. I just really wish folks would take time to really understand how it works," he said.
Boyce will be the only name on the ticket in November. If things go as planned, Lee will be out Dec. 31 and Boyce will take over on Jan. 1.
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