ATLANTA -- A Republican critic of Georgia's education reform defeated a teachers association executive for the state school superintendent's seat.
Republican Kathy Cox, who wants control of schools returned to local communities, said her experience as a teacher for 15 years convinced voters to put her in office.
"I know what works and what doesn't from working with kids. I can help reduce our dropout rate and that resonates with folks," Cox said. "When it comes to people and their schools, they want their local school boards to have the final say."
Her opponent, Democrat Barbara Christmas, blamed the loss on voter confusion between Kathy Cox and Secretary of State Cathy Cox.
"The name confusion played a significant role, that and the Republican tide, the heavy Republican turnout, we think that was a factor," Christmas said.
Cox won 53 percent of the vote to Christmas' 44 percent. Libertarian Lynn Krogseng had 3 percent.
Meanwhile, five incumbents - four Democrats and a Republican - easily held on to their state offices.
Cathy Cox, who was responsible for the state's new voting system, won another four-year term. She had 62 percent of the vote to Republican Charles Bailey Sr.'s 35 percent. Libertarian Mike Pitts garnered 3 percent.
Attorney General Thurbert Baker defeated Republican Shannon Goessling, holding a 56 percent to 44 percent lead.
Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine easily defeated Democrat Lois Cohen with 64 percent of the vote to 34 percent. Libertarian Helmut Forren followed with 3 percent.
Democrat Tommy Irvin, who has been agriculture commissioner since 1969, won a ninth election. Irvin had 58 percent of the vote over Republican Deanna Strickland's 39 percent. Libertarian Doug Morton had 4 percent.
Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, a Democrat, got 51 percent of the vote to overcome Republican Richard McGee, who had 46 percent of the vote. Libertarian William Costa had 3 percent.
In the Public Service Commission races, Republican state Rep. Doug Everett beat incumbent Democrat Earleen Sizemore 52 percent to 48 percent.
Incumbent Lauren "Bubba" McDonald was victorious over Angela Speir, 48 percent to 47 percent. Libertarian James W. Harris had 5 percent.