Today’s special elections produced results that look good for Republicans. In a closely-watched race in Savannah, challenger Eddie DeLoach defeated incumbent mayor Edna Jackson, 53% to 47%. Mayor Jackson won the first round of balloting last month, 44% to 42%. The campaign leading up to the runoff had racial overtones, including a Connect Savannah cover illustration reminiscent of a Normal Rockwell Thanksgiving dinner painting that some though put Mayor Jackson in a servant’s role.
The other major surprise of the evening was in Senate District 43, where the runoff between Republican Janice Van Ness and Democrat Tonya Anderson. In this strongly Democratic district, Van Ness won the election by 87 votes, 3,864 to 3,777. Count this one as a pickup for the GOP. There may be provisional and late absentee ballots to count, but it’s doubtful that the result will be overturned.
After the results were announced, Georgia GOP Chairman John Padgett issued this statement:
Tonight’s victory in Senate District 43 proves that Georgia Republicans can win anywhere. With a clear, convincing message, trained and equipped grassroots army, and unmatched determination and grit, the VanNess Campaign defied the odds to win in a historically left-leaning district. Congratulations to Senator-elect Janice VanNess and her entire campaign team on a well-deserved victory. We look forward to working together in the months and years ahead to move Georgia forward.
Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer issued this statement:
In a Senate District that Obama carried three years ago with 71% of the vote, JaNice Van Ness won an amazing victory tonight. She unashamedly campaigned on conservative principles, and the voters of Senate District 43 decisively responded.
In the race for State Senate District 20, formerly held by Ross Tolleson, Larry Walker managed to win without a runoff, taking 52.2% of the vote in a six person field. Walker came in second in the contest earlier in the summer to replace Larry O’Neal, losing to Shaw Blackmon in House District 146. Running two campaigns within the space of six months likely helped Walker.
There were other races at the local level. Feel free to tell us the results in the comments.