Burns Plans to Unify a Diverse District

In one of the fiercest congressional races, Sylvania's Max Burns defeated Champ Walker. Coming from a small community, he started the race midway and somehow beat a part of Georgia's political machine. For Max Burns the upset sweep was complete.

The underdog college professor is already planning his first semester in Washington as Georgia's 12th District congressman. Not entering the race till May, he credits volunteers for his upset wins in the primary and general elections.

"The real champions are you the people who supported us over the last six months," Burns told his supporters last night. "Give yourself a hand!"

From the early numbers, Burns held a slim lead. As those supporters looked on, the margin widened. The former Screven County commissioner said he won on the support of rural counties while staying close to democrat Champ Walker in Augusta and Savannah.

"Certainly the district was created by democrats for a democrat," Burns said. "But I think the message was they preferred a strong conservative voice in Washington."

He now finds him self in a tug of war between parties in the Capitol. It's a game he wants to avoid.

"I think we've got to put aside party and partisanship. Let's work for people," he said.

Burns says even though the district stretches across vastly different communities and regions, he'll do his best to pull them together. Burns and his primary opponent, Barbara Dooley, both entered the house race after the republican frontrunner bowed out. Republicans held the Georgia congressional lead, winning eight out of thirteen seats.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com