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Hamby wins District 3 seat
Races for governor, congress need runoff
2 Hamby Wins pic
District 3 commission candidate Jimmy Hamby kisses wife, Shirley, at city hall after learning that he'd received 54 percent of the vote July 20. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Dawson County has a new District 3 county commissioner.


County native Jimmy Hamby, 57, will take office Jan. 1 after securing 54 percent of the vote, or 1,876 votes, during Tuesday’s primary election. 


“The key to winning is sticking to your guns,” said Hamby as he stood outside a victory party at the Dawsonville Pool Room. 


“You’ve got to make up your mind and stick with it, and don’t roll around.” 

Hamby offered a nod to his opponents.


“It was a good, clean race,” he said. “Everybody acted professional, and they were both gentlemen.”


Lionel Graves took about 26 percent, or 887 votes. Bill Minor received 709 votes, or about got 20 percent.


Glenda Ferguson, who chairs the county’s board of elections and registration, said voter turnout was “better than usual,” with 35.27 percent of the county’s 12,193 voters casting ballots. 


Hamby will succeed Commissioner Mike Connor, who chose not to seek re-election.


Hamby said he’s excited about taking office.  


“There’s lots to learn, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.


In other election news Tuesday, Nathan Deal and Karen Handel are headed to an Aug. 10 runoff for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s governor’s race.


The winner of that election will face Democrat Roy Barnes in the Nov. 2 general election.


Addressing supporters Tuesday night, Deal said he took comfort in the fact that a majority of voters took Republican ballots in Tuesday’s primary.


“I will be the candidate in the runoff who is the conservative who will carry that banner,” Deal said.


To win the runoff, Deal has a significant amount of ground to cover in the next three weeks.


On Tuesday, he finished 11 percentage points behind Handel, who won the most votes in metro Atlanta and several counties on the eastern edge of the state.


Handel, who’s running to become Georgia’s first female governor, called her lead against a field of six male opponents “a big milestone for women across the state.”


She surged to the top of the GOP pack with the support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who vouched for her conservative credentials.


In the U.S. District 9 House race, Republican Lee Hawkins and Tom Graves are headed into yet another runoff, after neither garnered enough votes Tuesday night to win the seat.


The election will be the fourth in what has become a bitter contest for the two former state lawmakers bidding to succeed Nathan Deal in the U.S. House.


Graves brought in 49 percent of the votes, just one percentage point shy of a majority, which would have avoided the Aug. 10 runoff.


Both candidates said they are ready to jump back into another round of campaigning.


“I think when people get to know more about the two candidates and the difference between us, I still think we’ll come out on top,” Hawkins said. “I still believe that honesty and integrity count most in anything in life.”


Graves said supporters “need to continue doing what we’ve been doing.”

“The voters three times now in 70 days have affirmed that we’re their choice to (represent) them in the 9th congressional district,” he said.


“We’re going to continue to work hard and communicating our message of less government, less taxes and personal responsibility and conservatism.”


Ashley Fielding and Melissa Weinman of the DCN regional staff contributed to this report.