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Mills, Rogers hold onto state House seats
State Rep. Carl Rogers jokes with his grandchildren Bradford Puryear, left, and Jackson Carter while waiting for election results Tuesday evening. Rogers defeated Chad Cobb for the District 26 seat in the state House. - photo by Tom Reed

Georgia House Districts 25 and 26 went to incumbents James Mills and Carl Rogers, respectively, adding another four years of Republican representation for Hall County residents.

Mills pulled in 84 percent of the vote and Democratic opponent Mike Parker drew 16 percent. Rogers got 71 percent and Democratic opponent Chad Cobb pulled 29 percent.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunity to serve again," Mills said while driving to the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, where the state's Republican party held an election results watch party Tuesday night. "We've got daunting tasks in front of us."

Mills spent time with family and supporters at the Flowery Branch railroad depot before heading to Atlanta.

"We're still getting bits and pieces on the way," Mills said in the car when his win became final about 10 p.m. "There have been some false reports about the totals, so we've been trying to get the facts. So hearing about the win is very good news."

Rogers watched results with his wife, daughter and three grandchildren at his campaign office in Gainesville before heading to Atlanta around 8:30 p.m.

"I've felt good about this race the entire six months," Rogers said. "We did everything we needed to do, and the response has been very positive. I'm honored to be re-elected."

Mills was elected to the state House in 1992 and Rogers in 1994.

Parker said he decided to run for office when the Flowery Branch City Council annexed property near his subdivision for industrial use. He said he couldn't get clear answers from officials about why it happened and how many residents they contacted before the annexation.

Cobb decided to run when local school board officials announced the closing of Jones Elementary School due to budget cuts. As president of Jones' Parent Teacher Organization, Cobb asked for answers. The school board pointed to the state level.

"If I can't fix it at the local level, I decided to do it at the state level," Cobb said Tuesday night while putting his children to bed. "I tried to call Rogers and Deal then, but they didn't call me back."

Cobb watched returns with Hall County Commission Post 1 candidate Paul Wayne Godfrey at Irish Bred Pub at Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville. Parker planned on meeting them there but headed to Indiana on Saturday when his mother passed away. Parker didn't answer the phone Tuesday night.

"We've already left the watch party," Cobb said around 10 p.m. "We have schoolchildren, and family comes first. I'm very pleased with the turnout, given the money I had to run the race, and I want to thank everyone who supported me."

Both campaigns were relatively quiet, with no formal debates for either district. Mills and Rogers emphasized their past political experience while newcomers Parker and Cobb called for new ideas over the "career politicians."

"I don't think this is my last rodeo," Cobb said Tuesday night. "A lot of people start their campaigns a year ahead of Election Day, and I started just before qualifying. I'll keep working for education."