U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., awaited election results Tuesday night in Savannah’s Mulberry Inn, and he was pleased as staffers colored his territory red on a map that tracked congressional winners.
“I just want to thank my supporters throughout the 1st District and the state of Georgia,” Kingston said. “Even though Romney did not win the White House, the Republican Party will retain control of the House of Representatives.”
Kingston, who first was elected to Congress from the 1st District in Southeast Georgia in 1992, faced some challenges after redistricting from the 2010 Census altered his district to include all of Chatham County, which previously was split with 12th District Democratic incumbent John Barrow.
While Barrow fought — and won — his own battle against Republican Lee Anderson, a state representative from Augusta, Kingston faced challenger Lesli Messinger, a Democrat.
Kingston defeated first-time opponent Messinger with 63.3 percent of votes districtwide compared with Messinger’s 36.7 percent.
Kingston carried Long County but was behind Messinger in Liberty County by 1,000 votes.
Because Kingston’s district encompasses Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, King’s Bay Naval Base and Moody Air Force Base, sequestration was a hot topic on the campaign trail.
Sequestration will cut 10 percent from the federal budget unless a federal budget is agreed on.
“I don’t really know what to say about sequestration,” Kingston said. “I hope we don’t have to use it, but we just don’t know yet.”
Kingston said Congress still has much work before it and emphasized that it must reach across the aisle and work with the president to do what is best for the country.
State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Garden City, won his re-election bid in the 164th District, grabbing nearly 60 percent of the vote. State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, and Democrat state Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, also return to Atlanta, having faced no opposition.
John Wood, chairman of the Liberty County Republican Party and vice chairman of the 1st District Congressional Committee, offered his reaction to the election.
“Nationally, I am obviously disappointed that [Republican challenger] Mitt Romney did not win the presidency. As a Republican party, from the local grassroots level to the national level, we will remain committed to our core values of rugged individualism, limited government and reduced spending,” Wood said. “We congratulate the president on his re-election and earnestly hope that his leadership will encourage increased bipartisanship on both sides of the aisle.”
Wood said Romney did not fare as well in Liberty as he anticipated, receiving 34 percent of the county’s vote.
“I expected a little higher percentage,” Wood said. “But I am encouraged to know that we have 5,000 more like-minded individuals in the county, and if they truly are concerned about the direction of the county, state and nation, I urge them to get involved with the local party.”