ATLANTA -- Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor grabbed a second term Tuesday as lieutenant governor and promised that he would not turn the Legislature into a sparring ground with Sonny Perdue, the newly elected Republican governor.
"I will work with positively with him and work for Georgians," said Taylor, now the highest-profile Democrat in state government.
Taylor beat former state Rep. Steve Stancil for the No. 2 job in the state.
"I am ecstatic about it," Taylor said. "I think our very positive campaign and running on our record of the HOPE scholarship is what won the day."
Stancil's supporters said they were hoping to "ride the tidalwave of Republican support that was out there."
With 2,375 of 3,067 precincts reporting, Taylor had 53 percent of the votes to Stancil's 45 percent. Libertarian candidate Herbert Galloway had 3 percent.
University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock believes the win for Taylor will make the Senate, which the lieutenant governor presides over, an independent power base.
"Legislative politics are going to be played out a lot like it is in D.C.," Bullock said. "The governor is going to have to do a lot more negotiating to get things done."
Bullock credited Taylor's win to a massive multi-month commercial blitz.
"Stancil was more poorly funded than was Perdue, which suggests if Stancil had more money and more ads he may have won," Bullock said.
Stancil hoped a last-minute ad campaign would draw voters away from Taylor. He favored local control in public schools and criticized Gov. Roy Barnes' education reform bill that was pushed through the Legislature in 2000. Galloway, a building engineer in Atlanta, says parents should have complete control of their child's education.
Taylor, 45, a state senator before becoming lieutenant governor in 1998, helped push several measures through the Senate, including ethics, child protection and anti-crime legislation. He has also helped finance construction of schools and roads as well as getting modest pay increases for teachers.
Stancil, 49, a real estate appraiser in Woodstock, is known for fighting pork-barrel spending in the Legislature as ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.
Stancil has had trouble getting attention - and money - with some higher-profiled Republicans running for office this year. He raised just $125,768 compared to Taylor's $5 million, much of which Taylor has used on TV and radio ads.
Experts have said a victory for Taylor would set him up as one of the top contenders for the 2006 governor's race.