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Strong showing at polls
Interest in runoff high
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Forsyth County News
At a glance

The unofficial results from Tuesday's runoff election in Forsyth County are as follows:

District 3 County Commission (R)
* Todd Levent -- 67 percent, or 2,639 votes
* Jim Harrell -- 33 percent, or 1,310 votes

U.S. House District 9 (R)
* Tom Graves -- 62 percent, or 9,769 votes
* Lee Hawkins -- 38 percent, or 5,998 votes

U.S. House District 7 (R)
* Rob Woodall -- 67 percent, or 1,678 votes
* Jody Hice -- 33 percent, or 832 votes

Governor (R)
* Karen Handel -- 51 percent, or 9,568 votes
* Nathan Deal -- 49 percent, or 9,357 votes

Attorney General (R)
* Sam Olens -- 57 percent, or 9,184 votes
* Preston Smith -- 43 percent, or 7,040 votes

Insurance Commissioner (R)
* Ralph Hudgens -- 61 percent, or 10,103 votes
* Maria Sheffield -- 39 percent, or 6,558 votes

Public Service Commission (R)
* Tim Echols -- 61 percent, or 9,364 votes
* John Douglas -- 39 percent, or 5,988 votes

Secretary of State (D)
* Gail Buckner -- 78 percent, or 211 votes
* Georganna Sinkfield -- 22 percent, or 42 votes

Source: Forsyth County Elections Office

Four elections, four strong turnouts. Voters in Forsyth County returned to the polls in droves for Tuesday's runoff election, with turnout approaching 21 percent.

The voters' response exceeded Barbara Luth's projection of a 15 percent turnout.

“They overwhelmed me again,” said Luth, Forsyth elections supervisor. “I’m going to start guessing a lot higher.”

Turnout for the July 20 primary was about 23 percent. Luth said in looking at previous runoff elections, turnout was typically between 10 and 15 percent. But it all has to do with races involved.

"I think that they're just interested in who they are voting for," she said of voters. "The candidates got out and actually got their people to go out and vote."

Luth said there were no lines Tuesday at any of the local precincts, most of which were manned with between four to eight poll workers and machines.

The runoff ballot featured several contests, nearly all of which were on the Republican side.

In the District 3 Forsyth County commission race, Incumbent Jim Harrell fell to Todd Levent, who received about 67 percent of nearly 4,000 votes cast in the district.

Some 1,300 people supported Harrell and more than 2,600 backed Levent.

With no Democratic candidate, Levent is set to take over for Harrell in January.

Tom Graves carried the county and the 9th District to retain the U.S. House seat he won in a special election runoff earlier this summer.

Graves is serving the remainder of Nathan Deal's term, which runs through 2010. Deal resigned to run for governor.

Tuesday's victory means that Graves will begin a full, two-year congressional term in January.

"We left it all on the field, not once, not twice, not three times, but four times, and I want to say thank you so much," Graves told supporters during a speech Tuesday night at his campaign headquarters in Cumming.

For the U.S. House seat in District 7, which includes some of south Forsyth, local Republican voters supported Rob Woodall.

Woodall will face Democrat Doug Heckman of Norcross in the Nov. 2 general election to replace John Linder, who is not seeking re-election.

Countywide, voters backed Karen Handel over Deal for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

For other state offices, Forsyth Republicans supported: Sam Olens, attorney general; Ralph Hudgens, insurance commissioner; and Tim Echols, Public Service Commission.

All three candidates won their party's respective nominations.

In their lone contest on the ballot, local Democrats favored Gail Buckner for secretary of state.

With four elections already this year, Luth said she's glad for the break until November, "but we're already starting on the next one."

There will be some local races to look forward to in the fall, Luth said.

Republican primary winner Pete Amos will meet Democrat Mary Chatfield for the District 1 county commission seat while District 2 Republican school board nominee Kristin Morrissey will face Democrat Camille Fareri.