Though the outcome of the runoff election between the two Republicans seeking the Georgia governor's office was a squeaker statewide, Columbia County voters were clearer in their preference Tuesday.
They wanted Karen Handel. Voters in the rest of the state, however, chose Nathan Deal by a narrow margin.
Handel, the former secretary of state, took 60 percent of the vote in Columbia County, while trailing by less than 1 percent statewide to Deal, a former U.S. representative.
Deal will face Democrat Roy Barnes and Libertarian John Monds in the Nov. 2 General Election.
Turnout in Columbia County was among the highest ever for a primary runoff, with more than 15 percent of registered voters casting ballots in five races that weren't settled in the July 20 party primaries.
Barely 1 percent of voters cast ballots in primary runoffs in 2004 and 2008, and the tough fight for the Republican gubernatorial nomination was credited for bringing more voters to the polls.
The percentage was more than double that predicted by Columbia County Board of Elections Director Deborah Marshall.
"After advance voting, with more than 900 votes, I expected it to be busy," she said.
In other races, Columbia County's results mirrored those of the rest of the state.
For the single Democratic runoff, Georganna Sinkfield defeated Gail Bruckner for the right to face Republican incumbent Brian Kemp and Libertarian David Chastain for secretary of state.
Among Republicans, Sam Olens will face Democrat Ken Hodges and Libertarian Don Smart for attorney general; Ralph Hudgens will face Democrat Mary Squires and Libertarian Shane Bruce for commissioner of insurance; and Tim Echols will face Democrat Ken Moffett and Libertarian Jim Sendelbach for public service commissioner.
Early voting for the Nov. 2 election starts Sept. 20, Marshall said. The deadline to register to vote in the election is Oct. 4.
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