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Graves defeats Hawkins for full term in U.S. House
Tom Graves gives a speech Tuesday night with his wife Julie and three children at his side following his win in the 9th District U.S. House race. - photo by JENNIFER SAMI

Tom Graves will keep his seat in Washington, D.C., winning Tuesday's runoff election and wrapping up a fourth contest for the 9th District U.S. House seat.

Graves pulled in 55.2 percent of the vote, or about 8,000 more votes than former state Sen. Lee Hawkins of Gainesville, who drew 44.8 percent. There is no Democratic opposition for the seat in November.
"I'm looking forward to leading this district," Graves said Tuesday evening. "In the next few months, we're going to organize an economic advisory council across the district and make sure the national and local offices are equipped to meet the needs and questions of our constituents."

Hawkins, who kept his campaigning closer to Gainesville, thanked supporters and family when final Hall County results rolled in about 9:30 p.m.

"I want to thank the people in Hall County for their support. What we did was important," he said, holding wife Sharon at his side. "We know our state is on the right path, but we have to make sure our country is. I don't know where we'll go next, but the fight isn't over."

Graves and Hawkins rose to the top of eight candidates competing in a May 11 special election for Nathan Deal's former seat. They then moved to a June 8 runoff where Graves beat Hawkins by 13 percentage points to fill the remainder of the term, which ends in December.

"We're disappointed because we had our hearts set on it," Hawkins said Tuesday. "But we're still in a mess budget-wise and with health care, so we're not going to stop because it's too important."

In the July 20 primary, Graves pulled in 49 percent of the votes, and Hawkins drew 27 percent.

"We're looking forward to getting this series of elections behind us," Graves said. "We stayed focused on positive solutions and had a comprehensive campaign that was strong on grass roots efforts. Ultimately, we were blessed with good results."


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