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Gopaul, Finch press on for solicitor
Donna Gopaul and supporter Kellie Austin check elections results at a south Forsyth eatery where the solicitor general's camp gathered. - photo by Crystal Ledford

FORSYTH COUNTY — Tuesday’s Republican primary didn’t yield a clear winner in the race for Forsyth County solicitor general.

Incumbent Donna Gopaul and Bill Finch are heading to a July 22 runoff after neither they nor third candidate Susan Zereini was able to secure 50 percent plus one vote.

Gopaul led the way with 7,530 votes, or about 41.1 percent of the total, followed by Finch with 5,757 votes, or about 31.4 percent, and Zereini at just over 27.5 percent, or 5,032 votes.

The office prosecutes misdemeanor criminal cases in the county’s State Court, as well as some Magistrate Court issues.

Both Gopaul, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Nathan Deal in March 2013, and Finch were grateful for the support and looking ahead to further campaigning. Whoever wins the runoff will claim the post as no Democrats are running.

“I think things went really well [tonight] and I’m looking forward to the runoff,” Gopaul said. “We’re just going to forge ahead and that’s it.

“I’m thankful to all my supporters and my employees [in the solicitor’s office].”

Finch also thanked all of his supporters and shared Gopaul’s thoughts on the runoff.

“We look forward to it,” he said. “We’ve run a good, clean, positive race and that’s what we plan on continuing to do in just getting our message out.

“I’ve been kind of overwhelmed in the number of folks who have come out in support. This is stage one … and we’ll go from there.”

Zereini was gracious in her defeat.

“I’m just very grateful for the opportunity,” she said. “It was a humbling experience and for all of those people who came out and voted for me, I’m just so grateful.

“I’ll never regret my decision to run. I’ve educated a lot of the citizens of this county about what the solicitor general does.”