LAWRENCEVILLE - Just 19 votes divided Carol Hassell and Bruce LeVell in the GOP primary for the county commission's District 1. But Hassell said there is more that unites them.
She endorsed LeVell for next week's runoff, where the MARTA and Gwinnett Village board member faces former Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter.
The winner of the runoff will win the seat, being vacated by Lorraine Green, as no Democrats are seeking the post.
"Only one candidate in this runoff race is worthy to be District 1 commissioner, and that's Bruce LeVell," said Hassell, a former Suwanee council member who pulled in 1,869 votes July 15. "In the time I've known him, Bruce has exhibited integrity and honesty. These qualities are essential for a commissioner."
LeVell, a Duluth business owner, said he was grateful for Hassell's support.
"Throughout the campaign, she and I have agreed that Gwinnett is at a crossroads, and we can't afford four years without bold action to get us on the right track," said LeVell whose vote total earlier this month was 1,888. "The citizens of District 1 have my solemn promise that I will not let them down."
Negative campaigning between Lasseter, the top vote-getter with 2,714, and Hassell may have cost Lasseter the endorsement.
"District 1 voters deserve better than a candidate who stoops to distortions, fact-twisting and misinformation as a campaign strategy. That means LeVell is the only choice in District 1," Hassell said in her statement. "Moreover, this is a crucial election, given the challenges looming for Gwinnett. We simply must have a quality commissioner for District 1. I strongly encourage all District 1 residents who voted in the Republican primary to take the time to cast a vote for LeVell for the good of Gwinnett."
Lasseter did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Advanced voting is under way this week for the Aug. 5 runoff for the Duluth and Suwanee area district, as well as a countywide GOP primary runoff for chairman and a statewide Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.