* U.S. House District 7: Woodall wins re-election.
GAINESVILLE — Gainesville Republican Doug Collins won a second two-year term to Congress on Tuesday night, soundly defeating Democrat David Vogel of Hull.
Collins won by taking 80 percent of the vote in the 9th District U.S. House race. The district covers all or parts of 20 counties, including north Forsyth.
In Forsyth, Collins drew 88 percent backing, with 14,029 votes, to Vogel’s 12 percent, or 1,866 votes.
“I’m grateful for the tens of thousands of northeast Georgians who made their voices heard tonight,” he said in a statement after returns showed he had won.
“Since you first hired me to work for you in Congress two years ago, I’ve listened to what you’ve had to say. Today, you spoke loudly and clearly that we work well together, and I thank you.”
Looking to his second term, Collins said, “There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the way forward in the 114th Congress, but one thing is certain: We have more opportunities than ever before to show what real leadership looks like.”
He said an interview with The Times of Gainesville that his priorities are “getting our fiscal house in order and working on getting regulations under control.”
Vogel watched returns at a Democratic gathering at Little Italy Pizza in Gainesville.
“When I started the campaign, I said I’d be satisfied if we educated 2,000 voters well enough so that in the next election, we could start where we left off in this one instead of having to start over with a new set of slogans. And we’ve done a lot better than that,” he said.
According to Vogel, his campaign was about generating interest in Democrats, setting the stage for 2016 and beyond statewide, he said.
“I’ve gotten through to a large number of voters.”
Vogel said this is his last campaign, but he will remain active in the local Democratic party.
Collins said in a previous interview that, if elected, he would work to repeal the Affordable Care Act and bring down federal spending.
“We always have the opportunity to simplify the tax code, and that’s still my goal,” he said.
“Locally, I’ve made no secret of my hopes that the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery and the $30 million every year it brings to the mountain economy stays online.”
He said he also would continue working to see that land at Camp Merrill in Lumpkin County transferred to the Department of Defense.
Joshua Silavent of the FCN regional staff contributed to this story.