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Handel gets most votes for governor

Even though there were no local officials being challenged in Georgia's political party primaries on Tuesday, there were some surprising results in statewide races.

Perhaps one of the more surprising races in the Peach State turned out to be Karen Handel garnering more votes than any other Republican candidate running for governor. Mrs. Handel, who resigned her position as secretary of state to seek the state's highest political office, collected 217,206 votes or 34 percent, according to unofficial results.

Mrs. Handel picked up the endorsement of Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, about two weeks ago, which political observers believe helped her to finish at the top in the Republican Primary.

Her quest to become governor is far from over, though.

She now must face Nathan Deal, the party's runner-up candidate, in a runoff election slated for Tuesday, Aug. 10. Mr. Deal had the support of 148,098 voters or 23 percent.

The winner of the special runoff election will go against Roy E. Barnes, the Democrat winner. Mr. Barnes, who campaigned in McDuffie and Warren counties, garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, plus one, to win the Democratic Primary.

Mr. Barnes, who several years ago served as governor, will face either Mrs. Handel or Mr. Deal in the November general election. The winner will become Georgia's new governor, replacing Republican Sonny Perdue, who is completing his second term.

In McDuffie County, Mrs. Handel was the top vote-getter, tallying 600 votes or 44.42 percent, according to unofficial results released by Elections Director Kelvin Williams.

As was the case across many counties in the state, Mr. Barnes was the top Democratic Primary candidate in McDuffie County. Mr. Barnes collected 282 votes locally or 57.12 percent.

Mr. Barnes' closest challenger was Thurbert Baker, who received 139 votes or 29.06 percent. Mr. Baker serves as the state's attorney general.

In the race for 10th District U.S. Representative, incumbent Rep. Paul Broun received 1,079 votes in McDuffie County. He is a Republican.

His challenger, Russell Edwards, running as a Democrat, received 371 votes.

Voters will decide between the two of them in the November General Election.

Republican challenger Charles Ashfield collected 989 votes in his bid to unseat Helen "Sistie" Hudson, a Democrat, for State House Seat 124. Rep. Hudson is the incumbent. The same two candidates will go against each other again in the November General Election.

Locally, there were three candidates whose names appeared on the Democratic and Republican ballots.

Incumbent McDuffie County Commissioner Sammie Wilson, Sr., a Democrat, received 266 votes.

His challenger, Ray Roquemore, a Republican, received 228 votes. They will face each other in the general election.

The only other race locally saw McDuffie County Commissioner the Rev. Fred Favors receive 256 votes. He is unopposed.

In McDuffie County, a total of 2,265 voters or 16.5 percent, cast ballots in Tuesday's primaries, Mr. Williams said. He had predicted a turnout of between 9 and 11 percent.

Web posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010

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