Former state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker defeated Ed Tarver in the Democratic primary race for the 22nd District state Senate seat in election returns Tuesday.
Charles Walker thanks his supporters at BL's on Laney-Walker Boulevard after his victory over Ed Tarver. Despite a 142-count federal indictment on fraud charges, Mr. Walker defeated Mr. Tarver in the District 22 race with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
Photo by Chris Thelen
With all precincts reporting, Mr. Walker achieved a political comeback with about 60 percent of the votes cast to Mr. Tarver's roughly 40 percent.
Mr. Walker will now face Republican state Sen. Don Cheeks in the November general election.
Mr. Walker, who was dealt a stunning defeat by Republican Randy Hall in 2002 and is running under the shadow of a 142-count federal indictment, credits his effort to the lesson he learned in that defeat.
"In 2002, I thought G.O.T.V. meant 'Go On Television,'" he said. "G.O.T.V. means 'Get Out The Vote' - I had to go back to my base, back to my roots.
"I did not buy a single television ad. I decided I was going to work this campaign through the people because, after all, it is their district, not mine. And I feel very strong that the people will speak loud and clear as it relates to the politics of personal destruction."
Mr. Walker, 56, and his daughter Monique Walker Hill, who was indicted on some of the charges, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Augusta last week.
The former lawmaker took several precincts in east and central Augusta by whopping majorities Tuesday, winning over Mr. Tarver, an Augusta lawyer who initially qualified to run for the 23rd District seat but ended up facing Mr. Walker in the primary after the federal court redrew the district lines.
Mr. Walker's recent indictment on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and income tax invasion in connection with the operation of his weekly newspaper, the Augusta Focus, and stealing from the CSRA Classic, a charity he founded, did not dissuade voters from supporting him.
He won precincts in the inner city, east Augusta and south Augusta, while Mr. Tarver took those in the Hill area and west Augusta.
Mr. Walker won at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church precinct on Wrightsboro Road with 303 votes to Mr. Tarver's 69 votes and at the Gracewood Community Center on Tobacco Road in south Augusta with 420 votes to Mr. Tarver's 231 votes.
Ed Tarver had qualified to run in another district, which changed when lines were redrawn.
Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker
At the polling site at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, where Mr. Walker attends church, he won with 399 votes to Mr. Tarver's 92 votes.
"I believe that the people have spoken loud and clear, and now my challenge is to raise these issues in the general election against my opponent," Mr. Walker said.
"He's well financed and poised for a very rigorous campaign, and I hope we can address the November election based on the issues. However, I am prepared to deal with this issue at any level that my opponent so decides. In other words, I'm not going to be running from Mr. Cheeks."
Mr. Tarver, 44, won at the Asbury United Methodist Church with 138 votes to Mr. Walker's 18 votes and at HIS Community Church with 148 votes to his opponent's 78 votes.
While praising the work of his volunteers, Mr. Tarver said he could not overcome Mr. Walker's 20-year political rsum, which included a stint as state Senate majority leader.
"I was not able to overcome his notoriety," Mr. Tarver said Tuesday night. When asked whom he would support in the November election, he replied, "I am a Democrat and I hope the Democrat wins."
Ed Tarver (left) waits at Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta with his supporter Dexter Elam to find out the results of his race.
Photo by Kevin Martin
Mr. Walker denied speculation he would bow out of the race after winning the primary, which would allow the executive committee of the state Democratic Party to elect a candidate to run against Mr. Cheeks in November.
Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or email@example.com.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.