State- and national-office runoff elections held Tuesday across Georgia produced some close, nail-biting results, none of which were complete by the time the Courier went to press at 9 p.m.
He may have come in behind businessman David Perdue during the May primary, but U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston made a strong run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. With 65 of the state’s 159 counties reporting, Kingston had 50.09 percent of the vote, compared to Perdue’s 49.91 percent.
During the May 20 primary election, Perdue got 30.64 percent to Kingston’s 25.80 percent, but Kingston later got the endorsement and support of the third- and fourth-place
candidates, Karen Handel and Phil Gingrey. Kingston’s congressional spokesman Greg Dolan said their support gave Kingston the help he needed in the Atlanta area where he’s not well known.
Liberty County, however, strongly favored Kingston for the Republican nomination. At the Courier’s 9 p.m. press deadline, Kingston had won 88.77 percent of Liberty’s vote with 561 of 632 votes reported.
Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, won the Democratic nomination in May, and Amanda Swafford won the Libertarian nomination. Three candidates will face off in November for the senate seat being vacated by U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss’ retirement.
“I’m proud of the campaign we’ve run,” Kingston said. “This has been a statewide race. I’ve visited all the corners of Georgia, and our volunteers have been extraordinary, with almost 500,000 calls (made) since May 20. I look forward to Republicans taking back the Senate in November and putting an end to Harry Reid’s blockade on jobs bills from the House.”
Republican State Sen. Buddy Carter sought the GOP nomination to run in November for Kingston’s 1st Congressional District U.S. House of Representatives seat in a hotly contested race against Dr. Bob Johnson, a retired Army Ranger and former cancer surgeon. With less than half the 1st District counties reporting, Carter had 51.58 percent to Johnson’s 48.42 percent.
“I think we just took a slight lead again,” said Carter’s communications director, Jud Seymour. “At this point, we’re still confident. We would like to thank all our supporters.”
In Liberty County, voters supported Carter. As of 9 p.m., the Pooler pharmacist had tallied 55.89 percent, garnering 351 of the county’s 628 reported votes.
The race for the 1st District Democratic nomination between Brian Reese, a minister, and Amy Tavio, a real-estate agent, wasn’t as close as it was in the primary election, where Tavio snagged 33.96 percent of the vote to Reese’s 33.81 percent. Her campaign manager, Charles Feagin, told the Courier that after the primary, Tavio was endorsed by the third-place candidate, Marc Anthony Smith. He said he was confident she would win the nomination. At 9 p.m. Tuesday, however, Reese held an early lead. At 8:55, he had 62.75 percent to Tavio’s 37.25 percent.
The race for state school superintendent pitted Mike Buck against Richard Woods on the Republican side. At press time, Buck had 52.22 percent to Woods’ 49.78 percent. For the Democrats, it was Valarie Wilson, who had 52.15 percent of the vote, and opponent Alisha Thomas Morgan, who had 47.85 percent.
In Liberty County, Buck led with 62.99 percent of the vote at press time, and Morgan had a one-vote lead over Wilson.
Tuesday’s voter turnout was light across the state, although those results were not available at press time either. Party nominees will now re-set their campaign focus for Election Day on Nov. 4.