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Power wins clerk race
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Dawson County Clerk of Courts candidates Justin Power and Gaye Cantrell shake hands Tuesday night after learning the results of the runoff election, in which Power received about 55 percent of the vote. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Justin Power has one thing he would like to say to the voters of Dawson County: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”


Power received about 55 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s runoff election for Dawson County clerk of courts. His opponent, Gaye Cantrell, drew about 45 percent.


Cantrell, 51, offered congratulations to Power, 28, at the elections office following the news.


“He’s a nice young man, and I wish him the best,” said Cantrell, who received 1,573 votes in the runoff.


Power, a local real estate agent, tallied 1,925 votes.


“It’s been a pleasure  running this campaign alongside Gaye Cantrell,” Power said. “She’s a wonderful lady. She displayed amazing character and professionalism.”


Cantrell, a retired banker, said it was a good experience overall.


“I’ll always remember all the friends I’ve made,” she said. “I’m glad I did this.”


Power said he’s excited “to get in office and start the job.” Though a swearing-in ceremony has not been set, he could begin his new duties as early as next week.


Pam Henson has been handling the position on an interim basis.


“I will do my best to serve the citizens of Dawson County,” Power said.


At nearly 30 percent, voter turnout in Dawson was steady, according to Glenda Ferguson, who chairs the local board of elections and registration.


“It’s a great number,” she said, adding that “everything went great.”


“The flow went good, the machines, everything went really well,” she said.


Of the 12,205 registered voters in the county, 3,614 voted in the runoff.


Power and Cantrell were the two top vote-getters in the July 20 special election to succeed former Clerk of Courts Becky McCord. The contest featured 10 candidates.


In other contests on Tuesday’s ballot, nearly all of which were on the Republican side, Tom Graves carried Dawson County and the 9th District to retain his U.S. House seat. He won in a special election runoff earlier this summer.


Graves is serving the remaining term of Nathan Deal, who resigned to run for governor, through year’s end. Tuesday’s victory means that Graves will begin a full, two-year congressional term in January.


Countywide, voters backed Nathan Deal over Karen Handel for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.


For other state offices, local Republicans backed: Sam Olens, attorney general, Ralph T. Hudgens, insurance commissioner and Tim Echols, public service commission.


On the Democratic ballot, Dawson voters backed Gail Buckner for secretary of state.