Jim Whitehead says he's looking forward to serving Columbia County in Atlanta as the next representative for the state's Senate District 24.
Jim Whitehead hugs supporter Jennifer Farr during his victory party at Dye's Southern Grill. Whitehead beat Chuck Pardue for the District 24 seat in the Georgia Senate.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Whitehead, a Republican and former Columbia County commissioner who won a resounding victory over Democrat and Augusta attorney Chuck Pardue on Tuesday, says he'll start things off by focusing on one key issue.
"The tech school is a big thing,'' he said. "We've got to sit down and see why we don't have that already."
Whitehead was referring to plans to have an Augusta Technical College campus in Columbia County. This summer, Gov. Sonny Perdue deferred bond money for the construction of the proposed campus, to be located on a 34-acre tract of land near the Horizon South industrial park. School officials, however, are still hopeful for the funding.
Augusta Tech has proceeded with the idea of the 22,000-square-foot building, recently narrowing its list of possible architects to four.
Whitehead said he also wants to focus on growth issues in counties surrounding Columbia County, adding that Lincoln County is just now beginning to see the growth that Columbia County experienced several years ago.
"They're going to have problems they haven't seen before,'' he said, adding that his experience as a Columbia County commissioner, from 1995-2002, should help him know what will be needed for such counties.
"We worked awfully hard in the outlying counties because we wanted to have a showing in them just like in Columbia County,'' Whitehead said.
For the entire district Tuesday, Whitehead took 70.3 percent of the vote, or 47,113 votes, to Pardue's 29.7 percent, or 19,930 votes. The district covers Columbia, Elbert, Glascock, Lincoln, McDuffie, Warren and Wilkes counties.
The major difference in the race was the vote tallies in Columbia County, which holds the majority of District 24's population. In Columbia County, Whitehead took 75.5 percent of the vote, or 34,578 votes, to Pardue's 24.3 percent, or 11,138 votes.
"That's great,'' Whitehead said. "We're tickled to death.''
Late Tuesday, Pardue congratulated Whitehead on a race that he said was clean, with no personal attacks.
"I just hope he will follow up on my big issue - a strong ethics bill," Pardue said, adding that he believes Whitehead will pursue such a bill.
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