By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Shelly Echols wins rematch to take Republican nomination for state Senate District 49
05252022 ECHOLS 3.jpg
Shelly Echols, Candidate for state Senate District 49, watches returns come in Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at Jaemor Farms. - photo by Scott Rogers

Shelly Echols made the leap from Hall County commissioner to prospective state senator Tuesday, beating rival Scott Gibbs in a rematch. 

Echols celebrated her victory for the state Senate District 49 Republican nomination May 24 at Jaemor Farms, surrounded by dozens of friends and family members huddled around outdoor television screens updating results. Echols won 60.1% of the vote. 

“Too often Republicans just rip each other apart, and people don’t like that. So, I’m glad that we kept it positive, and I appreciate that he and Richard (Straut) both kept it on message,” Echols said. 

Echols won her first race against Gibbs for Hall County Board of Commissioners District 3 in 2018 with about 72% of the vote. She decided to run for commission after the county had planned to relocate four ambulances out of rural Hall County for the benefit of more urban areas. She criticized Gibbs’ position on the issue at the time and cruised to a landslide victory against the former commissioner. 

Echols decided to run for state Senate after Sen. Butch Miller announced his run for lieutenant governor. Miller is the president pro tempore of the Senate and has held his District 49 seat since 2010. 

During her campaign for state Senate, Echols, who is a former teacher, focused on issues related to education, saying cameras should be placed in all classrooms and that recently passed legislation aimed at removing critical race theory from public schools and creating more transparency didn’t go far enough. 

Like some other Hall County Republicans, she has said she would be in favor of a consumption tax instead of a state income tax but would want the income tax eliminated gradually rather than all at once. 

Echols will face Democrat Jody Cooley in the Nov. 8 general election. 

She was joined by a few other Republican candidates at her election night party, including Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, who ran unopposed, Mark Pettitt of the Hall County Board of Education and Gregg Poole, who is running for Hall County Board of Commissioners District 3.

05252022 ECHOLS 2.jpg
Shelly Echols, candidate for state Senate District 49, and husband Drew watch returns come in Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at Jaemor Farms. - photo by Scott Rogers