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 real-estate agent 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. With 1,205 Republican ballots cast in Liberty County, Carter took the county with 695 votes to Johnson’s 510 votes. In Long County, Carter garnered 58.28 percent (250) of the vote and Johnson took 41.72 percent (179). Across the district, Carter took 53 percent (22,861) of the vote to Johnson’s 46 percent (19,621).
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. Carefully choosing his events, he garnered 63 percent of the vote, including carrying Liberty County with 513 of the 798 votes cast. Tavio finished with 32 percent. In Long County, though, Tavio garnered 60 percent (54) to Reese’s 40 percent (36).
Tavio conceded the contest to Reese before 10 p.m. Tuesday. 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 Liberty County, picking up 1,041 to Perdue’s meager 168. In Long County, Kingston took 76.5 percent (332) of the vote to Perdue’s 23.5 percent (102). Actually, Kingston 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.