published Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Greg Hogan elected Murray County chief

CHATSWORTH, Ga. — Almost three years ago, Greg Hogan lost the Murray County sole commissioner seat to his rival, David Ridley, by a little more than 200 votes.

On Tuesday evening, Hogan took it back.

He won the seat by a slightly wider margin of more than 400 votes, besting his cousin Bruce Reed in a specially called election.

Ridley resigned in March after a county employee filed a sexual harassment claim against him.

Hogan wiped away sweat and sighed with relief after the numbers were read at the county election office.

"I'm doing a lot better now; I'm just glad it's over," he said. "It's been a nerve-racking day."

Hogan received 2,036, or 56 percent, of the votes while Reed garnered 1,591, or 44 percent, in the unofficial results tallied Tuesday evening.

About 19 percent of registered voters in Murray cast votes in the election, even fewer than the 22 percent who voted in June's 15-candidate race.

In that election, Hogan and Reed received the most votes, but neither got a majority, forcing a runoff. In that election, Reed was the top vote-getter.

Hogan, the former mayor of Eton, said the fact that Reed did not participate in a candidate forum several weeks ago and declined newspaper interviews tipped the votes in his favor.

Reed left the election office before the final votes were counted and could not be reached for comment late Tuesday evening.

Chief Registrar Larry Sampson said Hogan would be sworn into office after the state certified the election results and returned the certification to the local election office.

The state likely would expedite the process in a special election, Sampson said, but he did not expect Hogan to be sworn in until sometime next week.

Hogan said he is ready to get to work as soon as he is sworn in.

"I'll sit down and take a look at the budget to decide what to do first," Hogan said. "And then I'll take it from there."

The June election also is being investigated by state officials after a citizen complained. Officials have declined to comment on details about the complaint and said it should not interfere with the results of Tuesday's election.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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