The results are in and the race to fill the vacant seat in Georgia's state house has finally come to an end.
Carl Gilliard won Tuesday's run-off for the State House District 162 seat with more than 73 percent of the vote. The special election was held to fill the seat of Representative Bob Bryant who passed away in February.
Remember this was a run-off, in a special election, for a single district. So turn-out was not expected to be very high, but a good number of people live in the 162nd district. The district includes 19 precincts in areas like Berwick, Carver Village, West Savannah and Garden City, just to name a few.
As far as total voter turnout, only about 6 percent of the nearly 23,000 registered voters in the district cast a ballot for this race. Tuesday’s run-off came after neither Gilliard nor Blakely were able to garner the majority of votes during last month's special election. Gilliard claimed 46 percent of the vote, Alicia Blakely got 28 percent.
Both candidates said this is not the end of the road. They are already looking ahead to next month's primary election.
"This is expected. We expected this to happen. We got to do it again May 24th and we're going to be ready. We're going in full force, and we're going to do what we need to do in order to win this seat and represent for the folk of 162,” said Blakely.
"The work is far from over. Tonight, we landed on Main Street in West Savannah, and we start our focus of bringing the focus back to the people. Tomorrow, we roll up our sleeves and start all over again for May 24th. I'm confident because of the shoes I'm walking in - I'm walking in some big shoes. Bob Bryant was a great individual, and even standing on the shoulders of giants, I'm confident that I'm going to fit those shoes and run the race,” said Gilliard.
Although Gilliard will now finish out the late Bob Bryant's term, the state house has already adjourned for this legislative session so he will not actually take a seat in Atlanta for the remainder of this term. But, this win does give him momentum going forward when running for a full term later this year.
Both candidates have already qualified as Democrats for that general primary next month. A third candidate, Josey Shepard, Jr. has also qualified for the May primaries. Again, that will take place on May 24th.
No Republicans have registered to run in that primary, so the winner of that race in May will win out-right and serve a full, two-year term, without having to go to the general election in November.
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