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Ready for service

Much has been written and talked about regarding the recent special election to fill the unexpired term of the late U.S. Congressman Charlie Norwood.

The race first fielded a number of candidates and then dwindled down to just two - Paul Broun and Jim Whitehead.

Mr. Whitehead, formerly chairman of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners and later elected to the Georgia State Senate, representing McDuffie County and other surrounding counties, appeared to be the clear-cut favorite.

Many in these parts believed that he would no doubt defeat Mr. Broun, who is a physician in Athens and lives in Oconee County.

As special elections go, though, some hold interesting surprises.

The July 17 special election was one of them, indeed, as Dr. Broun pulled off a surprising upset victory over Mr. Whitehead, an Evans resident and businessman.

The margin of victory was less than 400 votes. That's right, less than 400 votes. The outcome was real close - so close, in fact, that Mr. Whitehead was nearly prompted to seek a recount of the votes.

As it turned out, he decided against seeking a recount, which I thought said something about his character - being able to accept the loss in a more graceful manner, even though I'm sure he was disappointed. If I had campaigned as hard as he did and spent the kind of money that Mr. Whitehead did, I, too, would have been highly disappointed.

It boiled down to the candidate that was able to get his supporters to the polls to cast ballots.

Another factor in Dr. Broun's winning the 10th District Congressional seat was the fact that Democrats in the Athens-Clarke County area largely voted for him. Mr. Whitehead was soundly defeated in that area, while Mr. Whitehead was largely supported in both Columbia and Richmond counties.

The difference, I believe, was the turnout of Democrats who backed Dr. Broun. In addition, he won the support of a number of conservative Republicans, who no longer wanted to see politics run "as usual," to quote Dr. Broun.

Even though many thought Mr. Whitehead would win, I really didn't.

Having covered many elections through the years, I felt there could be an upset in the making. I predicted that Dr. Broun would win the special election.

Now that the election is over, I hope we can get back to the business of the people of the 10th District. We haven't had a congressman in our district since February and much needs to be done for us to catch up.

Dr. Broun has assured me in three different conversations, including one last week after he was sworn into office, that he will work for all the people of the district. I believe him.

Web posted on Thursday, August 02, 2007

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