Fort Stewart teacher Dave Swinford of Hinesville said he voted for Chambliss because he doesn’t want complete Democratic control of the Senate.
“I don’t like anyone having full control of anything,” Swinford said. “I like it when both have a little give and take.”
The ballots must be tallied by Friday but the contest could stretch beyond that with a five-member board gathering beginning Dec. 16 to rule on ballot challenges.
Elections officials reported steady to light turnout since polls opened, and no problems. Polls closed at 7 p.m.
Hinesville’s Arturo Cardenas made no secret of his choice Tuesday – Martin.
“Under the (George Bush administration), you have not been given a fair chance,” he said. “We should be equal.”
Chambliss and Martin both fell short of the 50-percent threshold in a three-way general election race with Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley, who drew 3.4 percent of the vote.
Statewide, incumbent Saxby Chambliss beat Jim Martin handily in their Tuesday runoff for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Liberty County, however, proved to be one of Chambliss’ weak spots.
After votes in 14 of 15 precincts were totaled late Tuesday, Martin had 4,171 votes to Chambliss’ 2,650. Percentage-wise, 61.1 percent of the 6,848 people who cast votes in Liberty County voted for Martin, 38.9 percent for Chambliss.
Democrats touted Martin as the person who would provide a “bridge” to the change promised by President-elect Barack Obama.
“I was surprised at the disparity (of votes statewide),” said M.L. Coffer, Liberty County Democratic Party chairman. “We worked hard for (Martin here). I was not surprised that he won big here. Nothing you can do about (what happened overall).”
Chambliss’s victory - he got 57 percent of the vote - dashed Democrats’ dreams of securing a filibuster-proof, 60-vote super majority in the Senate. Republicans now will have at least 41 votes, which is enough to stop major legislative initiatives by the Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress.
Ted Harris, chairman for the Liberty County Republican Party, said the runoff went pretty much as he thought it would.
“(Chambliss) was so close to 50 percent (of the votes in the general election), I really didn’t see Jim Martin catching up,” Harris said. “It was a great race. I heard they spent more on the runoff than they did on the regular campaign.”
The voter turnout in Liberty County, particularly since it was a runoff, was better than good, according to Ella Golden, supervisor of elections for Liberty County. Nearly 30 percent – 28.7 to be exact – of those registered to vote did so.
“It was great, absolutely wonderful,” Golden said. “The citizens really came out and voted.”
In Liberty County, voters bucked the state trend, casting more votes for Democratic challenger Jim Martin than Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss.
Here are results as reported by the Georgia Secretary of State office:
Liberty County (14 of 15 precincts)
Long County (six of seven precincts)