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Local races boost turnout in Newton

COVINGTON — Local elections on the ballot likely helped boost voter turnout in Newton County for the General Primary runoff.

Elections supervisor Donna Morrison said turnout was 12.89 percent, which is close to the turnout that was predicted for the state as a whole. In neighboring Rockdale County, where there were no local races on the ballot, turnout was 10.34 percent.

In addition to statewide races, voters in the eastern portion of Newton County could also vote in the state House District 112 runoff between Dave Belton and Aaron Brooks. District 112 is made up of all of Morgan County and a portion of Newton.

Belton, boosted by voters in Morgan County, won that race by 108 votes. Belton received 69.23 percent of the vote in his home county of Morgan, or 1,449 votes, compared to 644 for Brooks. Brooks carried his home county of Newton at 59.76 percent, or 2,122 votes. However, Newton residents cast 1,436 votes for Belton, putting him over the top.

Belton said he was pleased to see that he received more votes in Morgan in the runoff than in the May 20 General Primary.

Brooks theorized Tuesday night that fundraising was a factor in the outcome of the runoff.

“He had a fund-raising edge on me, so I guess that would be the biggest thing,” Brooks said.

“I am very proud of the way my campaign was run,” Brooks added. “I tried to keep everything as positive as possible, and I’m proud of all the hard work that was put in, the countless volunteer hours.”

In the other local race, incumbent District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson easily won in a runoff with political newcomer Sonya Hunte with 62.48 percent of the vote.

In statewide races, Newton Republican voters mirrored the outcome of the U.S. Senate race to replace Saxby Chambliss. Newton voters selected businessman David Perdue with 56.93 percent of the vote. In statewide balloting, Perdue defeated Congressman Jack Kingston with 50.88 percent of the vote.

Newton voters did not reflect the statewide outcome in two other primary runoffs for state school superintendent. Democratic voters in Newton gave Alisha Thomas Morgan the edge over Valarie Wilson in that race. Wilson won statewide with 54.38 percent of the vote. On the Republican side, candidate Michael Buck carried Newton, while his opponent Richard Woods won statewide with 50.09 percent of the vote.

Morrison said there were no glitches in the election process Tuesday and that all ballots had been counted by about 9:30 p.m., including 413 mail absentee ballots.

Morrison said there were two absentee provisional ballots where voters have been asked to provide a photo ID. She said they have until Friday to do so in order for their votes to count. All election results are unofficial until certified. Morrison said she expects to certify the election results on Friday.