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2 reflect on bids for office
Knox, Purcell out of state running
Purcell Gary
Gary Purcell - photo by Submitted
Forsyth County’s two candidates for state insurance and safety fire commissioner are trying to look ahead to their futures in the field.

But both Tom Knox and Gerry Purcell have also taken time to reflect on Tuesday’s election, which placed them behind Ralph Hudgens and Maria Sheffield, who advanced to an Aug. 10 runoff.

“We ran a good campaign,” Knox said. “I’m proud of what we did. We ran the race that we could run and we came real close.”

Purcell noted for a first-time candidate, the 72,000 votes he got was “quite an accomplishment.”

“It encourages me to continue,” he said. “I’m not going to go away. I’m going to continue to stay involved in the process.”

Both county residents agreed it was TV and money that did them in.

Knox, who will leave his District 24 state House post at year’s end, said Hudgens finished first “mainly because he had enough money to do TV ads in the metro area.”

“He was the only one who had enough money to go up on TV, and TV counts for a lot,” he said.

Purcell agreed.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t have the money in the last 30 days to really do the statewide mailings, do television like some of the other candidates did,” he said.

In Forsyth, Knox outpaced all nine Republicans running for insurance commissioner, more than doubling his closest challenger.

But getting 41 percent of Forsyth’s vote didn’t reflect the state, where he took in just 16 percent.

Purcell drew about 13.5 percent of the county’s vote and 12.7 percent statewide.

Hudgens, who received nearly 21 percent of the state vote, came out Tuesday about one point ahead of Sheffield.

Both Purcell and Knox have thrown their support behind Hudgens, with Knox saying the candidate is a “man of faith and character.”

Purcell said Forsyth should be proud that its two candidates placed third and fourth, though he “wished the results were better.”

“We were very frugal and grassroots,” he said of his campaign. “It really came down to money, because every time we went out and appeared at a group, whether it was 50 people or 500 people, we were successful.”

While he’s only got a few months left as a public official, Knox said he plans to remain involved in politics.

“I liked representing the people of Forsyth County and the state of Georgia,” he said. “I did 10 years and I think I did some good work and I was happy I was able to do it.

“But it will be nice to be able to concentrate on my own business again and spend more time with my wife and friends and family.”