The three candidates for Piedmont Judicial Circuit district attorney finished within a few percentage points of each other on Tuesday, throwing the race into an Aug. 5 runoff.
Jackson County defense attorney Donna Sikes received 5,129 votes, or 35 percent, of the vote, according to unofficial results. Local prosecutor Brad Smith received 4,820, or 33 percent.
Incumbent Rick Bridgeman, who was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in September to fill an unexpired term, received 4,666 votes, or 32 percent, and will not participate in the runoff. A candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win.
“I pretty much anticipated that (a runoff). Anytime you have three people in the race running strong, you can expect that to happen,” Sikes said.
Smith said he plans to campaign heavily between now and Aug. 5.
“Get out there and pick up as many of Mr. Bridgeman’s supporters as I can, and get people out to the polls. Because that’s what it is in the runoff, not how much your support is but how many people you can get out to the polls,” Smith said.
Tuesday was the first time in 25 years that voters had a chance to choose their district attorney. Former DA Tim Madison, who ran unopposed in every election, is now serving a six-year prison sentence for abusing public funds.
The judicial circuit covers Banks, Barrow and Jackson counties. Sikes won the most votes in her home county of Jackson county with 36 percent of the vote. Smith was favored by more Barrow County voters, at 46 percent. And Bridgeman won Banks County with 42 percent.