A quick glance at the numbers from the state Senate District 22 race suggests that Charles Walker should be preparing to serve his sixth term in office.
He won 29 precincts in Tuesday's general election; Republican Randy Hall won only 21 precincts, including absentee ballots.
Mr. Walker averaged 74 percent of the vote in the precincts he won. Mr. Hall averaged only 72 of the vote in his precincts.
But two other numbers hold the truth as to why Mr. Walker will be spending less time in Atlanta next year.
Though Mr. Hall won fewer precincts, a larger number of his supporters voted (57 percent to 50 percent) compared with those in the precincts Mr. Walker won.
As many Walker supporters had feared, the recently redrawn district came back to haunt the Democratic incumbent. Once 63 percent black, the district is now 51.5 percent black and 46.5 percent white.
Mr. Walker failed to win any of the 13 new majority white precincts that he gained during redistricting.
The lack of support for Mr. Walker in the white precincts is in stark contrast to the 2000 general election. That year, he received nearly 53 percent of the vote in the district's 13 predominately white precincts.
Mr. Hall said Wednesday that his victory had as much to do with the number of black voters he siphoned from Mr. Walker as with his strong showing in the white precincts.
Mr. Hall and his campaign workers had devised formulas for each precinct showing their black-to-white ratios, and how much of each precinct's vote they needed for an overall victory.
Mr. Walker still has an opportunity to challenge the results. Because his 49.6 percent vote margin was within 1 percent of Mr. Hall's 50.4 percent, he would be eligible for a recount if he requests one within five days of the date the election results are certified by the Secretary of State's office in Atlanta, said Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey.
Mr. Walker did not return a call Wednesday to his office on Laney-Walker Boulevard seeking comment about whether he would ask for a recount.
Reach Mike Wynn at (706) 823-3218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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