Retired Army lieutenant colonel Brian Prince and retired educator Diane Evans are heading to a runoff for the Georgia House District 127 seat.
Prince won 44.61 percent of the votes and Evans 29.57 percent. Dianne Murphy, the widow of Rep. Quincy Murphy (D-Augusta) who died in August leaving the state House seat open, narrowly missed the runoff with 25.83 percent of votes.
Prince said he would continue to campaign heavily in the weeks leading up to the runoff election on Dec. 3.
“We’re still confident,” Prince said late Tuesday from his election night headquarters at the Holiday Inn on Gordon Highway. “I’m thinking we’re gonna be OK.”
Evans, a pastor at a Baptist Church in Sylvania, said she was going to meet with her campaign team to craft a strategy to come out even stronger in the runoff.
“I do have really strong hopes we are going to pull this off and be the winner,” she said. “We want to be victorious and we’re going to work very, very hard to do that.”
House District 127 includes Louisville, Wrens, Stapleton and Avera in Jefferson County, and Blythe, Fort Gordon and parts of west and southwest Augusta in Richmond County.
Prince led in Richmond County, winning all but one of its nine precincts voting in the special election. He totaled 1,226 votes with Murphy winning 739. Evans had 146 votes.
Evans, of Avera, Ga., had a strong showing in Jefferson County. She won 827 votes to Prince’s 242 votes and Murphy’s 111. Evans was the only candidate from Jefferson County.
Murphy, a family service facilitator at Jenkins-White Elementary, did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Turnout for the special election was low, with just 13.11 percent of the Richmond County’s 16,442 registered voters casting ballots.
Turnout in Jefferson County was not available.
Prince, 49, said his fundraising helped him in Tuesday’s race. He outraised his competitors, collecting $34,936 in the five weeks since qualifying began for the seat. Murphy raised $7,768 and Evans $7,310.
“I have a lot of friends in low places that contributed what they could,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”