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Republican leading PSC voting
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ATLANTA -- The U.S. Senate race may have grabbed much of the headlines, but voters also quietly decided heated contests to fill open seats on the Court of Appeals and the Public Service Commission.

With 46 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Lauren "Bubba" McDonald had 59 percent of the vote to Democrat Jim Powell's 41 percent of the vote in the contest to fill the open seat on the Public Service Commission.

In the Court of Appeals race, Sara Doyle and Mike Sheffield were neck and neck. Doyle had around 52 percent of the vote, and Sheffield earned about 48 percent.

The Public Service Commission race earned attention after Secretary of State Karen Handel disqualified Powell days before the July primary on grounds that he didn't meet his district's residency requirements.

The commission, which regulates Georgia utilities, requires a statewide election for a seat that represents north Georgia.

Powell claimed that Handel, a Republican, disqualified him for political reasons. A judge allowed his name to remain on the ballot, and Georgia's top court later concluded Handel "committed an error" by ousting him.

He forced a runoff when he earned 47.8 percent of the vote to McDonald's 47.2 percent of the vote.

McDonald, a former state legislator who served on the commission for four years, stressed his experience in public office in the run-up to Tuesday's vote. Powell, meanwhile, vowed to be an independent voice for Georgia consumers.

The runoff also was needed to resolve a packed race for an open seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals.

In the primary, Doyle captured just over 22 percent of the vote, while Sheffield drew roughly 21 percent in the November election. The other five candidates split the remaining votes.

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