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Forsyth backs runoff victors
Chambliss, McDonald, Doyle each carry county
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Forsyth County News

It wasn't a historic race, but Forsyth County voter turnout for Tuesday's runoff election was higher than the past five runoff elections combined.

"It is unprecedented," said Gary J. Smith, local elections chairman. "It's unbelievable. Every one of our precincts was steady all day long."

"We thought everyone would have time to read, do their Christmas cards and that sort of thing, but most poll workers said they didn't even have time to use the bathroom."

In total, 43,872 voters, or nearly 47 percent of the county's 93,386 active registered voters, cast a ballot in the runoff.

Local voters also backed the winners in each of the three runoff contests, including the much anticipated U.S. Senate showdown between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.

In Forsyth County, Chambliss received 85 percent, garnering 37,222 votes to Martin's 6,598.

The margin was much closer in the state election, with Chambliss taking about 57 percent of the vote to Martin's 43 percent.

The race was key for Republicans, as the Chambliss win effectively blocked Democrats from obtaining filibuster-proof control of the U.S. Senate.

Smith, who originally expected turnout to peak at 25 percent, said the race's impact on control, especially in a historically Republican county like Forsyth, was likely the reason for the unexpected turnout.

"We were down to the last two Senate races in the entire country and this was one of them," he said, referring to the Minnesota Senate seat still up for grabs in a recount.

"Because of that, all the media attention, all of the political horsepower and all of the money was being forwarded to Georgia from all sides."

The Senate race also brought more votes to the other two races on the runoff ballot: District 4 Public Service Commissioner and State Court of Appeals judge.

Statewide, Republican Lauren W. McDonald Jr. bested Democrat Jim Powell with about 56 percent of the vote.
McDonald, father of county coroner Lauren McDonald III, received five times his opponent's support in Forsyth, with 35,293 votes, or about 84 percent, to Powell's 6,958 votes.

In the nonpartisan race for appeals judge, Sara Doyle beat Mike Sheffield with nearly 52 percent of the vote, both in the state and Forsyth.

Thanks to extended early voting, some nearly 15,000 Forsyth County voters cast ballots prior to Tuesday's runoff.