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County stays GOP in state, national races
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Forsyth County News

Democrat Barack Obama has won the presidential election, earning well above the needed 270 electoral votes.

While Obama will be sworn into office in January, Forsyth County voters had a much different opinion on who should be president.

More than 78 percent of Forsyth's 75,500 voters selected Republican Sen. John McCain. Obama received less than 15,400 total votes in Forsyth, as compared to more than 59,100 who voted for McCain.

Ethan Underwood, a key volunteer at the Forsyth County Republican Party Headquarters, said he was proud of the local McCain volunteers.

"We did our job here in Forsyth County and we did our job in Georgia," he said. "We don't have a lot of control of what happens in other states. We're certainly disappointed in the results of the election.

"We believe Senator McCain was the right man for the job. But at this point, we regroup, we figure out how to make the Republican Party be the dominant national party, and I think we've got a lot of work to do."

About 20 percent of Forsyth's voters cast a ballot for Obama. His greatest county support came from the southwestern Forsyth precinct of Brandywine, where he drew about 36 percent of the vote.

McCain fared best locally at the Lanier precinct, in northeastern Forsyth, where he received nearly 87 percent of the vote.

Though Forsyth was not indicative of the nation's support, the typically Republican county did reflect the state's wishes.

Despite early hopes, Obama failed to carry Georgia, which supported McCain with about 52 percent of the vote.

Wilma Turner spent the last five hours before polls closed Tuesday calling voters on behalf of Obama. She said she was disappointed he didn't win Georgia, though his 47 percent support in Georgia was nothing to scoff at.

"We worked so hard and I think it's paying off," she said. "We are ecstatic. We feel so good. We were just talking about what a wreck Obama is stepping into.

"The George Bush administration has just wrecked the train and now Obama's got to get in there and clean it up.

"It's not going to be easy and it's not going to be quick. It's going to be a hard struggle, but at least we've got hope."

Georgia's U.S. Senate race was still too close to call as of late Wednesday.

With 96 percent of the state's precincts reporting, it appeared incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss will be heading into a Dec. 2 runoff with Democratic opponent Jim Martin.

Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley drew more than 3 percent of the state's support, enough it appears to have prevented Chambliss from the majority needed to win outright.

In Forsyth, Chambliss received about 75 percent of the vote to Martin's 20 percent share.

Underwood said the Forsyth party headquarters will remain open to help support Chambliss in the runoff.

"We're getting our troops together to ... put our efforts into the Saxby campaign."

District 9 U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal and District 7 U.S. Rep. John Linder will both retain the seats they've held for the past 16 years.  

Linder, who received more than 81 percent of Forsyth's vote, was re-elected with the support of about 62 percent of his congressional district.

His opponent, Doug Heckman fared significantly better in the overall district, with about 38 percent, than he did in Forsyth, at 18 percent.

Deal, of nearby Gainesville, received the backing of 75.5 percent of his congressional district. His opponent, Jeff Scott, received less than 20 percent of the vote in Forsyth, which didn't improve much in the congressional district, where he got 24.5 percent.   

All five members of Forsyth's state legislative delegation ran unopposed and were re-elected with nearly 100 percent of the vote.

In other races of note, Lauren "Bubba" McDonald Jr., father of Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald III, faces a runoff for the public service commissioner seat in District 4.

Libertarian candidate Brandon Givens took about 5 percent of the vote, just enough to keep McDonald and Democrat Jim Powell from a majority.  

McDonald and Powell each received less than 48 percent of the vote. The two will face off again during the Dec. 2 runoff.

Two of the three proposed constitutional amendments were supported by state voters.

The first constitutional amendment, to encourage preservation of the state's forests through a property tax reduction, passed with about 68 percent of the state's support and about 66 percent of the county.

The second amendment, to allow local school districts to use tax funds for community redevelopment purposes, passed narrowly statewide, with about 51.5 percent of vote. The county voted against the amendment by nearly 60 percent.

Both county and state voters said no to creating infrastructure development districts for underserved areas.

The county voted against the amendment by nearly 60 percent, higher than the 51.5 percent of Georgia voters who didn't like the idea.