Ga. elections official certifies results

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ATLANTA - Secretary of State Karen Handel certified Georgia's election results Thursday, making official a Dec. 2 runoff for U.S. Senate, Public Service Commission and Georgia Court of Appeals seats.

Neither Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss nor Democratic challenger Jim Martin broke the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

According to official tallies, Chambliss had 49.8 percent of the vote, Martin pulled 46.8 percent and Libertarian Allen Buckley finished with 3.4 percent.

The news comes as no surprise to Chambliss and Martin, who have aggressively continued their campaigns in the days after the election.

In the Public Service Commission race, Democrat Jim Powell earned 47.9 percent of the vote to Republican Lauren "Bubba" McDonald's 47.2 percent of the vote. A Libertarian candidate captured the remaining 4.9 percent.

For Powell, the runoff comes after a legal battle just to stay on the ballot. Handel disqualified Powell from running just days before the July primary, saying he didn't meet his district's residency requirements.

A judge kept his name on the ballot, and Georgia's top court concluded Handel "committed an error" by ousting him.

The court of appeals race drew a crowded field of seven candidates. That's now winnowed down to two lawyers. Sara Doyle captured 22.5 percent of the vote, while Mike Sheffield drew about 21 percent. The other five candidates split the remaining votes.

Handel certified the results more than a week after polls closed Nov. 4.

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