Results from Tuesday’s primary runoff races are in, but have not been certified.
State Senator Buddy Carter won the 1st Congressional District Republican runoff against Dr. Bob Johnson. In November, Carter will face Savannah Democrat Brian Reese, who defeated Richmond Hill businesswoman Amy Tavio for the Democratic nomination.
Speaking to his supporters, Carter pledged his support to bring the party together.
“I am so honored to be running for Congress, representing the Republican Party and trying to fill the giant shoes of Jack Kingston. My values are your values and I will take those to Washington. It’s important that we all come together, because we are going to have to do that in order to get the White House back in control of the Republicans,” Carter said.
Johnson’s strategy of going after Glynn and Camden paid off, but the election ultimately centered on Chatham County.
Reese would typify the old coach-speak quote, “Do not confuse activity with accomplishment.”
Tavio ended up debating an empty podium at the Atlanta Press Club Democratic Debate, which was shown statewide on GPB. Reese said he had a prior obligation, but it didn’t seem to hurt him.
Though Tavio outpolled Reese in Bryan County and a few others, Reese garnered 63 percent of the vote in the district. as a whole.
Tavio, who was in her first political race as a candidate, conceded the contest to Reese before 10 p.m. Tuesday.
In a statement she sent by email Wednesday, Tavio congratulated Reese and asked that voters get to know him and make an informed decision in November.
“I wish to express my sincere congratulations and well wishes to Brian Reese for his win in last night’s Democratic primary runoff election,” Tavio’s statement began. “I encourage all Georgian’s across our district, regardless of their historical party affiliation, to check out his website www.brianreese4congress.com and make an informed decision in November when voting, choosing who will best represent the people here at home.”
Her statement continued:
“Brian has a servant’s heart and will stand for the little guy and gal, not special interests.
“In closing, words can not express my profound gratitude for the voters in the first who believed in my message and my commitment to bringing common sense, collaborative and respectful governance to leadership. I am humbly thankful for each vote, each a glimmer of light in the darkness, that a positive, issues based, vision driven campaign can be heard.”
Reese stressed that he is offering a balanced approach that is not uniquely partisan.
“I care about every voter in the 1st District — not just the Democrats, but Republicans and Independents. It’s important to me that everyone in the 1st District has a chance at success. When you consider that a county like Bacon in Alma has 33 percent living below the poverty level, you realize that the growth opportunities of the 1st District are not spread around the district. For this district to thrive we can’t allow growth to be so Chatham-centric,” Reese said.
Many constituents were surprised that Congressman Jack Kingston, who has been the face of Coastal Georgia politics for more than 20 years, lost to first-time candidate David Perdue in the bid to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Kingston was 4,000 votes behind David Perdue in the U.S. Senate runoff and, as he conceded, told Perdue that he will support him in November. National political pundits have pegged the U.S. Senate race between Perdue and Democratic challenger Michelle Nunn as the linchpin to the Republicans’ chances of retaking the U.S. Senate.
The 11-term 1st District Congressman carried every county below the Gnat Line, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the outpouring of support for Perdue in the metro Atlanta area.
Val Wilson will be the Democratic state superintendent nominee, but she may not know who her opponent will be until sometime next week.
Republican Richard Woods has a 725-vote lead over Mike Buck. However, provisional votes can’t be tallied until today, and the secretary of state will not certify the election until Monday at the earliest and Tuesday at the latest.
If the numbers hold, the loser can ask for a recount within two business days of the certification of the election. Buck has signified that he will seek a recount as long as he meets the 1 percent or fewer requirement.
John Wood and Jeff Whitten contributed to this report.