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Graves, Hawkins head to another runoff in U.S. House race
Lee Hawkins gets a hug from Pat Zalewski at an election return gathering Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn in Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed

Lee Hawkins and Tom Graves are headed into yet another runoff after neither garnered enough votes Tuesday night to win the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This will be election No. 4 in what has become a bitter contest for the two former state lawmakers.

Graves brought in 49 percent of the votes, just one percentage point shy of a majority.

“We’re very excited and it far exceeded our expectations with six very good candidates on the ballots to come just with 400 votes or so away from wining without a runoff,” Graves said. “We’re very pleased and look forward to another 21 days of spirited campaigning.”

Hawkins finished with a little more than 27 percent of the votes and remained positive Tuesday night.

“He hasn’t got a majority yet. The reason we got into the race in the beginning is the same reason we’re in the race right now and that is to represent the people of North Georgia with honesty and integrity and take the values of North Georgia to Washington,” Hawkins said.

Chickamauga businessman Steve Tarvin finished in third with about 15 percent of the vote, mirroring his results in the special election.
It has been a long road to succeed Nathan Deal in the U.S. House.

Following Deal’s announcement to run for governor, six Republicans, one Democrat and one independent announced they would be running to fill his seat.

Graves and Hawkins beat the crowd to become the top two contenders in the May 11 special election and headed into a runoff June 8.
Graves went on to Washington to fill the remainder of Deal’s term in Congress, which ends in December.

Both candidates said they are ready to jump back into another round of campaigning.

“I think when people get to know more about the two candidates and the difference between us, I still think we’ll come out on top,” Hawkins said. “I still believe that honesty and integrity count most in anything in life.”

“We need to continue doing what we’ve been doing. The voters three times now in 70 days have affirmed that we’re their choice to (represent) them in the 9th congressional district. We’re going to continue working hard and communicating our message of less government, less taxes and personal responsibility and conservatism,” Graves said.