Williams and Matthews Appear Headed for July 19 State House Runoff
Republican Chuck Williams leads with more than 1,500 unofficial votes in the 113th House District special election -- but he didn't get the 50 percent necessary to win outright.
Compiled from reports by Keith Farner, Terry Jernigan, Daniel Burnett and Rebecca McCarthy.
Republican Chuck Williams and Democrat Dan Matthews will compete in a July 19 runoff for a state House seat representing Oconee County and parts of Clarke, Morgan and Oglethorpe, according to unofficial election returns.
In a race with predicatably light turnout, Williams received 1,521 votes to lead the field of four candidates. Matthews received 1,048 votes, enough to force a runoff. Republicans Sarah Bell and Alan Alexander trailed with 719 and 632 votes, respectively.
"Since we got in this race and we realized we were one of four candidates, particularly with three Republicans, everyone was saying mathematically, that it was almost impossible," Williams said of winning the election outright.
"We sliced and diced the Republican vote so there would be a runoff between me and Dan Matthews," Williams said. "I think if you look at the makeup of the district, we will put our record out there and run on that record on July 19."
Matthews expressed confidence he could be competitive in the runoff.
"I think the voters of 113 showed tonight that Democrats can be elected and that voters are taken seriously," he said. "I do think its time to highlight the differences between myself and Mr. Williams."
Matthews also congratulated Alexander and Bell for their efforts.
"I appreciate everything they did," he said. "They kept it very civil and polite and not the least bit hateful or anything like that."
Bell, an adjunct professor at Gainesville State College, made education and family values her campaign priorities.
“We worked so hard, everybody did everything they could,” said Bell, who met with volunteers for her campaign on Tuesday night at the Watkinsville Community Center. “It was a real grass roots effort, which I’m happy to say. We ran a good campaign, it just obviously wasn’t enough.”
Bell said it was too early to know if she would work with, or support, either candidate in the runoff.
“Probably not,” she said. “But it’s too new, I haven’t thought about it.”
Bell said she would move her focus to the Oconee County Commission chair race.
“On to the Commission race,” she said. “But not tomorrow. I’m going to take a few days off.”
|Alan Alexander||Sarah Bell||Dan Matthews||Chuck Williams|
Updates from earlier:
Polls closed at 7 p.m. in the race to represent Oconee County and parts of Clarke, Morgan and Oglethorpe in the state House of Representatives. Turnout was expected to be light, but a lot of people did their duty. Patch will update with vote totals and reactions throughout the evening.
9:04 p.m.: Unofficial final results from Clarke:
Matthews - 441; Alexander - 119; Bell 117; Williams - 128
8:52 p.m.: Just after 8:30, Sarah Bell addressed her supporters. "I lost it, I got third place," she said. Bell said she is feeling fine and looks forward to slowing down a bit. She added that she's appreciative of her supporters' hard work.
8:48 p.m.: With all of Oconee, Oglethorpe and Morgan in and two-thirds of Clarke, Republican Chuck Williams leads comfortably but does not appear likely to avoid a July 19 runoff, probably with Democrat Dan Matthews, who is in second place.
8:42: Oconee County all precincts:
Alexander -- 420
Bell -- 504
Matthews -- 505
Williams -- 1270
8:38 p.m.: Clarke 66%
8:27 p.m.: Williams has a commanding lead, but early Clarke returns (13 percent) suggest a likely runoff:
8:24 p.m.: Morgan totals:
8:21 p.m.: Oglethorpe totals:
8:06 p.m.: Alan Alexander is at the Hilltop Grille in Athens with about a dozen supporters, friends and family. "I predict it's gonna be a low turnout and a long night," he said.
8:02 p.m.: Bishop in Oconee:
7:47 p.m.: From Oconee's Colham Ferry:
7:39 p.m.: Results from Oconee's Civic Center precinct:
7:29: Andrew Malcom of Watkinsville arrived at the Oconee Courthouse just after 7 p.m. to await the results. He said taxes and schools were the most important issues for voters. He lamented what he expected to be a low turnout, and estimated 3,500 votes. "We're going to get what we deserve," he said.
7:10: Oconee County is tracking results by precinct (none in yet).
7:03 p.m.: Polls are closed. Let the counting begin.