The hometown advantage may have helped John Deffenbaugh edge out Alan Painter in the Republican runoff for the Georgia House of Representatives District 1 seat.
Deffenbaugh, of Dade County, Ga., garnered 1,876 votes, or 51 percent, which nosed him ahead of Alan Painter, of Walker County, who netted 1,774 votes, with 49 percent.
“It was a very narrow margin ... he put in an excellent performance,” Deffenbaugh said as he watched the votes come in at the Dade County Administration Building in Trenton, Ga. “It was a very difficult race. A lot of time, a lot of effort. Meeting a lot of people.”
Voter turnout was higher in Dade County, which had six races on the ballot, than in Walker County, which only had the District 1 race in several precincts. A total of 2,750 votes were cast in the District 1 race in Dade County, compared to 900 in Walker County.
As for the hometown advantage, Deffenbaugh said, “It certainly didn’t hurt. If it helped, it didn’t help a whole lot.”
Deffenbaugh will face Democrat Thomas McMahan on Nov. 6.
Deffenbaugh is a retired naval reserve officer who works as an electronics salesman. He recently scaled down his employment from full- to part-time to make time for legislative work.
If elected, Deffenbaugh said some of the committees on which he would like to serve are education, personnel and ways and means.
Georgia House District 1 is a newly drawn district created after the 2010 census that includes all of Dade and most of the western portion of Walker County.
The incumbent Republican, Martin Scott, of Rossville, chose not to run.
Painter didn’t return a message left Tuesday night.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.