Paul Broun promises to be everyone's congressman when he goes to Washington, D.C. to represent the 10th District, which includes McDuffie and surrounding counties all the way up into North Georgia.
Pending the outcome of a possible recount, Dr. Broun managed to pull off one of the most surprising political upset wins in recent political history on Tuesday when he defeated Jim Whitehead, a former state senator from Columbia County for the seat in U.S. Congress, once held by the late Charlie Norwood. The special runoff election was necessary because neither Mr. Whitehead nor Dr. Broun were able to muster a majority of votes in last month's special election that saw them pitted against eight other candidates.
The two men were separated by less than 400 votes with all but one precinct having tabulated returns by 11 p.m. Dr. Broun, who practices medicine in Athens, but who resides in Oconee County, received a total of 23,514 votes or 50.4 percent to Mr. Whitehead's 23,120 votes or 49.6 percent - a difference of only 394 votes.
A recount of the votes may be forthcoming, since the outcome was as close as it turned out, said John Stone, a campaign spokesman for Mr. Whitehead. Numerous attempts to reach Mr. Whitehead, who served as a Republican state senator for 3 1/2 years, were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Dr. Broun said he was eager to begin serving each of the communities and counties within the 10th District.
"One of the first things I want to do is to fly to Washington, D.C. and be sworn in," said Dr. Broun during a telephone interview late Tuesday with The McDuffie Mirror. "I can't wait to begin serving the people of this great district. I want to represent every single community and every single county."
Dr. Broun, a Republican, said his victory "is a victory for the people of McDuffie County and all of the other counties in the 10th District. I tried my best to send a message to all the people of this district that I really wanted the job and wanted to represent them. My message was simply that we should be tired of the status quo in Washington and having politics played out as usual. The people of this district believed in me enough to vote for me and I thank all of those who did."
In McDuffie County, where voter turnout was thought to be mostly Republican, Mr. Whitehead, who owns and operates Jim Whitehead Tire Service in Evans and Augusta, soundly defeated Dr. Broun. Mr. Whitehead garnered a total of 1,220 votes in McDuffie County or 73.63 percent to Dr. Broun's 437 votes or 26.37 percent, according to unofficial results released by McDuffie County Elections Director Phyllis Wheeler.
A total of 1,657 voters or 15.71 percent casts ballots in the special runoff election in McDuffie County, said Ms. Wheeler. There were a total of 10,625 registered voters eligible to cast ballots in the special election here.
Ms. Wheeler said the turnout of voters "was a little higher than I estimated, but that was a good thing. It's always good to see as many people vote as would like to vote in an election."
Stumping for 11th-hour votes, both men attended the Annual McDuffie County Farm Bureau Supper, held at Charlie and Jennifer Newton's Pond House near Thomson last Saturday night. Mr. Newton serves as chairman of the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners.