Lee Anderson had a secret weapon at the voting booth last week.
His daughter, Katie, a senior at Greenbrier High School, turned 18 this year.
"Tuesday was the first time she had the opportunity to vote, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she voted for me," Anderson said jokingly.
Even without it, the former school board chairman easily won Tuesday's special election for a seat on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
When all the ballots were counted in the District 4 race, Anderson had 1,107 votes - 621 more votes than his closest competitor, George James.
Anderson spent Wednesday collecting campaign signs scattered throughout the district and thanking those who supported his abbreviated campaign.
By picking up 55 percent of the vote, Anderson was able to avoid a runoff and soon will be sworn in to serve the remaining year of Mark Devoti's term.
Devoti resigned in September to accept a job in Virginia, which prompted the special election. Anderson already has said he plans to run for re-election next year for the seat.
Anderson, a farmer and self-employed businessman, has resided in the county his entire life "except for two days."
"The first two days of my life, I spent in St. Joseph Hospital," he said.
Anderson's third-generation family farm sits on 240 acre off Louisville Road and specializes in growing hay for livestock and mulch. He said he leases out another 150-200 acres of the farm and handles rental and commercial property.
He credits his deep roots in the area as one reason for his victory.
"A tremendous amount of my friends came out and supported us," he said. "They saw the importance of coming out and voting, and my hats off to them because they didn't just come (Tuesday), they come every time the polls are open."
According to the voting patterns in the district, Anderson successfully pulled in support from the Appling, Leah and Winfield areas.
He overwhelmingly won the two Appling precincts, which also had the highest voter-turnout figures out of the district's nine polling sites.
Though the districtwide turnout was about 18 percent, 24 percent of eligible voters at the Kiokee Baptist Church precinct and 21 percent of eligible voters at the Eubank Blanchard Community Center precinct showed up.
As election officials drove back and tallied the first few precinct results Tuesday night, a runoff appeared possible between Anderson and James, who until recently served on the Grovetown City Council.
James' strongest showing came from the Grovetown City Hall precinct where he nabbed 100 votes.
As of Thursday, a date for Anderson's swearing-in ceremony had not yet been scheduled. But he will soon have to jump into the position as the board of commissioners' fifth member.
"The first thing I'm going to be looking at is all the issues that's facing our district and try to evaluate the most important needs," Anderson said. "I'm just ready to get in there and try to do the best I can for District 4 and try to make sure that District 4 is represented fully and has their fair share of the tax dollars."
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