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Primary election: Three races headed to a runoff
Solicitor general, two state legislature contests head to July 22
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Forsyth County News

By the numbers

The polls have closed for the primary election and the results are in.

With 16 of 16 precincts reporting, here’s a look at the local contested races:


(Please note: All local candidates are Republicans.)


District 27 State Senate

* Lauren W. McDonald III — 5,250 votes, 28.19 percent

* Jack S. Murphy — 6,975 votes, 37.45 percent

* Michael E. Williams — 6,400 votes, 34.36 percent


District 26 State House

* Geoff Duncan — 3,610 votes, 60.84 percent

* Tom Knox — 2,324 votes, 39.16 percent


District 24 State House

* Sheri D Gilligan — 2,625 votes, 41.18 percent

* Mark D. Hamilton — 3,749 votes, 58.82 percent


District 22 State House

* Meagan C. Biello — 332 votes, 20.89 percent

* Wesley E. “Wes” Cantrell — 570 votes, 35.87 percent

* Sam Moore — 687 votes, 43.23 percent


Forsyth County Solicitor General

* Bill Finch — 5,757 votes, 31.43 percent

* Donna Gopaul — 7,530 votes, 41.10 percent

* Susan Zereini — 5,032 votes, 27.47 percent


District 3 Forsyth County Commission

* David Hole — 1,444 votes, 35.71 percent

* Todd Levent — 2,589 votes, 64.20 percent


District 1 Forsyth County Board of Education

* Ann Crow — 2,004 votes, 55.74 percent

* Amanda Nixon — 801 votes, 22.28 percent

* Mark Weiss — 790 votes, 21.97 percent


Forsyth County Schools bond referendum

* Yes — 13,632 votes, 63.61 percent

* No — 7,800 votes, 36.39 percent


Source: Forsyth County Elections Office

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County voters headed to the polls Tuesday to weigh in on local and state races ranging from commission and school board to state legislature and U.S. Senate.

Nearly 22 percent, or about 22,600 of the county’s 105,033 registered voters, cast a ballot in the primary, which pleased Elections Supervisor Barbara Luth.

“We can’t be too disappointed with that,” Luth said. “We’ll still be one of the highest percentages in the state.”

In addition to having higher-than-average turnout for a primary, Forsyth also experienced few lines at the polls, Luth said, with the longest wait times about 15 minutes.

Luth said the largest issue in Forsyth was confusion over where to vote, as this was the first countywide election under the new precinct setup approved last year.

“We sent 120,000 cards out and the post office sent 40 percent back. A lot of those people had already moved,” she said, adding that for the most part voters arrived at their correct locations.

In addition to three local races — District 22 state House, District 27 state Senate and Forsyth County solicitor general — several Georgia contests are headed for runoffs on July 22.

Statewide, it appears the race to succeed the retiring Saxby Chambliss in the U.S. Senate will head to a runoff between David A. Perdue and Jack Kingston on the Republican ticket.

But in Forsyth, voters preferred Karen Handel to Kingston. Paul Broun, Art Gardner, Phil Gingrey and Derrick Grayson all failed to get more than 11 percent of the vote in Forsyth or across the state.

The winner of that contest will face off against Democrat Michelle Nunn, who received the overwhelming majority of votes in her party’s primary in both Forsyth County and Georgia.

In the governor’s race, Republican incumbent Nathan Deal handily beat two opponents — State School Superintendent John Barge and David Pennington III — with more than 74 percent of the vote in Forsyth, and more than 72 percent statewide.

In November, Deal will be challenged by Democrat Jason Carter, who ran unopposed on his party’s ticket.

Though he garnered nearly 20 percent of the Republican vote in Forsyth, Gainesville attorney Ashley Bell did not advance to the runoff for state school chief.

Instead, Mike Buck and Richard Woods will meet July 22. The close race had them edging some of the other seven opponents by less than 4 percent.

On the Democrats’ side, Alisha Morgan and Valarie Wilson will meet in a runoff, each having gained at least 25 percent of the vote in a six-candidate field.

While Wilson received the highest number of votes in both Forsyth and the state, Denise Freeman was actually second, besting Morgan locally by two votes.

District 9 U.S. Rep. Doug Collins drew more than 80 percent of the vote across his multi-county district, which includes north Forsyth, and nearly 79 percent locally over opponent Bernard Fontaine.

Collins will see Democrat David Vogel, who ran unopposed, in November.

The runoff election is about two months away, which gives the local elections office much more time to prepare, Luth said.

“It used to be three weeks after the primary and that was hard,” she said. “We were going to end up with statewide runoffs anyway ... but this is kind of a help because it gives us a little more time.”