Originally created 11/06/02

GOP takes lead in Columbia County



Columbia County voters continued their Republican leanings Tuesday.

Local voters overwhelmingly selected Barry Fleming to fill the Georgia House of Representatives District 79 seat and helped send Joey Brush back to the Georgia Senate for another term.

"I'm just thrilled and humbled that the people of the county first allowed me to serve them as their chairman and now will allow me to serve as their state representative," Mr. Fleming said.

With nine of 20 precincts counted, Mr. Fleming was leading 67.9 percent to 32.1 percent over Democrat Terry Holley.

Mr. Fleming, a former Columbia County Commission chairman, said he is ready for the legislative session to start in January.

"I'm excited about going to Atlanta representing the interests of a vibrant, growing county like ours," he said.

Mr. Fleming focused on a couple of issues during the campaign. He called for judicial reforms, changes in sales tax law and special help for border counties in the industrial recruitment battle with South Carolina.

In the county's other legislative race, Mr. Brush, a Republican, was leading with 71.1 percent of the vote to 28.9 percent for Democrat Anna Hargis with 39 percent of the precincts reporting.

"I'm thankful and honored for the support from the people of Columbia County and the rest of my district," Mr. Brush said while awaiting returns at the Evans Government Complex. "It looks like it is going to be a long night, but a fruitful one."

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.