Alicia Wright of Dawson County sometimes hears people complain about who gets voted into office.
“I tell them, ‘If you’re going to complain, you have to vote,’” Wright said. “Otherwise, you’ve got no reason to talk.”
Like many others in Dawson County, Wright went to the polls May 11 for the special election to fill the vacant 9th District U.S. House seat.
After all three local precincts and absentee ballots were counted, Tom Graves received the most votes in Dawson County with 552, or 32.6 percent of the total.
Lee Hawkins finished second with 343 votes, or 20.3 percent.
Those results were similar to the returns across the 15-county district, which saw Graves garner 18,306 votes, or 35.4 percent, to Hawkins’ 12,000 votes, or 23.2 percent.
As the top two vote-getters, the former Republican state lawmakers advance to a June 8 runoff election, with the winner filling the unexpired term of Nathan Deal.
Deal resigned in March to run for governor.
Both Graves and Hawkins are also seeking a full, two-year congressional term that begins in January. That contest will be decided in the July 20 primary election and Nov. 2 general election.
Glenda Ferguson, chairwoman of the Dawson County Board of Elections and Registration, said voter turnout for the special election was 13.52 percent. Of the 12,506 registered voters in the county, 1,691 took part.
“It was a good turnout,” Ferguson said. “Not bad.”
Richard Moore of Dawson County said the May 11 election was “an important one ... but they’re all important.”
With a field of eight candidates, Moore figured a runoff would likely be needed to fill the House vacancy. And he was right.
The vote totals for the other six candidates in Dawson County were as follows: Chris Cates, 267; Bert Loftman, 183; Steve Tarvin, 154; Mike Freeman 95; Bill Stephens, 63; and Eugene Moon, 30.
All the candidates ran as Republicans except for Freeman, a Democrat, and Moon, an independent.