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Vote count begins in state primary runoff

Ballot includes U.S. Senate, Hall school board and state school leader

POSTED: July 22, 2014 7:41 p.m.

New Holland precinct assistant poll manager Dinah Wallace unpacks items for the precinct Monday afternoon at the former East Hall library in preparation for today's run-off election.

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Georgia’s longest runoff election, mandated by judges to ensure military and other overseas voters had time to return their ballots, finally ended today.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. across the state and the count has begun.

The featured race in Hall County is the contest for Post 2 on the Hall County Board of Education, where incumbent Brian Sloan faces novice Mark Pettitt. Sloan just missed the 50 percent plus one vote threshold to avoid a runoff, garnering 49.99 percent of the vote in the May primary. Pettitt, who had 25.04 percent of the primary vote, advanced to the runoff by just seven votes over third candidate Traci McBride.

Statewide, the race gathering the most attention is the runoff between former CEO David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie. The winner faces Democrat Michelle Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford, a former Flowery Branch councilwoman, in the November general election.

Perdue led in Hall County in the primary, and both he and Kingston have made several stops in the county since the primary as North Georgia looks to be a key to deciding which of the two South Georgia residents will get the GOP nod.

Both Republicans and Democrats will pick their nominees for state school superintendent in today’s runoffs. John Barge left the post to run for governor, losing to incumbent Nathan Deal in the primary, opening the race for the schools post.

Republican Michael Buck, chief academic officer for the state Department of Education, and Richard Woods, a longtime educator in Irwin County, are running in the Republican runoff, while state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan and former Decatur School Board Chairwoman Valarie Wilson are competing in the Democratic contest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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