U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston also weighed in on the outcome of Liberty County and national elections. On Wednesday he said he was proud to have been re-elected to Congress from the First District of Georgia, noting, ”I carried 24 out of 25 counties.”
Votes are still being counted in Liberty County —— the sole holdout —— and the incumbent said it was possible he would be able to claim victory in all 25 counties.
Although Liberty was close, Kingston he was happy with his showing in the rest of the district, averaging 67 percent of the votes in the other counties. The congressman said he topped Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss by more than 4,000 votes in the district, showing that many people were splitting their tickets.
Kingston was less happy with the national results: “The electorate did speak. They liked Sen. Barack Obama’s message of a larger role for government and less private enterprise. He ran on a platform and people accepted it.
“In the future, where I can, I will support the new president. But when I feel his proposals are not best for my constituents, I will oppose them and offer my own ideas.”
Bill Gillespie, who challenged Kingston said, “We won Liberty County! That felt goo. Since I am a 3rd ID veteran and still work there. We had great support in Liberty.
“As for the First Congressional District, it was unfortunately, very similar again to 2006. We thought there would be more incumbent angst and Obama coat-tails, but no. The district wasn't ready for Obama. However, I want to make it clear that I was! I am very excited about our future.
As for my campaign, I have no regrets. I think we ran the best small campaign we could. The experiences, causes advanced and friends made were well worth it. We helped the Democratic Party in the district continue its positive growth. It is now time to come together as Americans to fix these tough obstacles.
While two Liberty County School Board candidates are bracing for a possible runoff, Sheriff Don Martin savored his landslide re-election.
“I think it was an overwhelming victory and a good race,” Martin said. “It tells me the people of Liberty County like what we are doing, and I want them to know we are going to continue doing what we have been doing. We are going to build on what we got and add to it as it comes.”
With 93 percent of the vote counted, Martin had received 10,867 votes, just over 73 percent of the 14,808 cast. Challenger Mark Floyd picked up just over 26 percent, or 3,922.
On the BoE, unofficial results show the race between Carolyn Smith Carter and Charlie Frasier for the District 2 seat so close it could be extended to a runoff.
Early numbers show Frasier barely leading with 50.3 percent of the votes and Carter showing 49.3 percent. Ella Golden, supervisor of the elections office, said candidates need 51 percent to clinch the seat. On Wednesday afternoon, Golden is still waiting for a state official to confirm the runoff.
“I’m in limbo right now, but I’m excited and ready to go if there’s a runoff,” Carter said.
In the other contested BOE seat race, incumbent Carol Guyett defeated Marcus Scott for the District 3 seat on the Board of Education.
“I’m very grateful for the people in my district. People did some work for me,” Guyett said. “I’ll continue to do what I can do for the children.”
Guyett was ready for the race to be over, but said she hadn’t worried about it.
“I was at peace with everything,” she said. “Ultimately God is in control and whatever happened was meant to be. We had a phenomenal turnout. I’m very grateful.”
Scott was unavailable for comment after the race, but the night before said he was excited to be a part of the process.
“I feel the election is going well and I expect great things from my campaign and our new president tonight. Yes we can,” he said.
The only other contested Liberty County race was for sheriff. After holding office for 16 years, Martin was back to work on Wednesday afternoon after attending a friend’s funeral during the morning.
“I’ve said it many times before, it really humbles me to think the people of Liberty County would put that must trust in me,” he said.
The sheriff said he has no new projects on this term’s agenda, but is seeking to get his deputies additional training.
“It gives them confidence in their job and helps them do a better job,” he said.
Martin said Floyd was a worthy opponent.
“Mark ran a good race,” he said. “It’s hard to run against someone who has 16 years but he ran a good race and I’m proud of him.”
Staff writers Joe Parker Jr. and Alena Parker contributed reporting for this story.