Former state Rep. Buddy Carter got 85.61 percent of the Liberty County vote for the District 1 state Senate seat in Tuesday’s special election. In sharp contrast, Carter’s opponent, Dr. Billy Hair, received 13.92 percent of the county’s vote.
Both men ran to fill the seat left vacant when former state Sen. Eric Johnson resigned in September to run for governor. Carter resigned his seat in the House after Johnson announced his resignation. Hair entered the race later that week.
The preliminary final number of registered voters who cast ballots on Nov. 3 was 848, according to Ella Golden, Liberty County interim supervisor of elections. These results are not yet official, Golden said.
Carter garnered 726 votes while Hair got 118 votes. District-wide, the tally was 10,898 or 82 percent for Cater and 2,371 for Hair.
The newly elected senator credited his win to the hard work of his supporters and endorsements from “quality people.” Carter said he received staunch support from former state Rep. Buddy DeLoach, former Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown, local attorney Bob Pirkle, state Rep. Al Williams and Liberty County School Board member Becky Carter.
Carter had his eye on the Senate seat for nearly nine months before he entered the race.
“I announced my intent to run on Jan. 6, my oldest son’s birthday,” he said. “We were ready, we were prepared.”
The senator said he will continue the work he did as a state representative except now he will serve a larger area. The Georgia Senate will reconvene the second Monday in January.
At present, Carter said he will take care of his constituents’ concerns. When he steps onto the Senate floor, his main challenge will be the budget, he said.
“I’ll also be lobbying to get some good committee appointments,” Carter added.
Carter’s opponent, Hair, was disappointed with his loss. Still, he maintained that he and his campaign team put forth a noble effort. He listed some hurtles he and his supporters faced in the special election.
“I think there were several factors,” Hair said Wednesday. “First, Buddy had advance notice of Eric’s
resignation and I did not. This allowed them to have ads and signs ready the next day and it took us about 10 days to catch up. Secondly, they had a substantial funding advantage with Buddy loaning his campaign $50,000, which made up about half of his funding.”
Hair said low voter turnout was also a factor in the election.
“I have never seen a race with such a low turnout and they did a much better job of getting their vote out than we did,” he said. “All in all, I think we did the best job we could have done given the limitations placed upon us. I am glad I ran the race and would do it all over again. I will stay involved and decide my political future at the appropriate time.”
Midway’s municipal election yielded interesting results.
The uncontested mayoral election received 189 votes, or 93.10 percent, out of 203 votes. Fourteen votes were write-ins. Former councilwoman Clemontine Washington is Midway’s new mayor.
In the city of Midway’s council race, 795 voters cast ballots.
Curtes H. Roberts Sr. garnered the largest number of votes at 141. Henry O. Stevens Jr. received the fewest votes with 83.
The other candidates’ preliminary vote tallies were as follows: Rose Mary Brown: 89, Levern Clancey Jr.: 139, Terry Doyle: 122, Melice Hamilton: 115, and Jim H. Woods: 106.
There were no write-in votes in the Midway City Council race.
The new council members are Roberts, Hamilton and Doyle. Levern Clancey Jr. was re-elected to the council.
Golden reported 213 people voted on Midway’s referendum to allow liquor sales in restaurants on Sundays, with 134 for the referendum and 79 against it.