GEORGIA HOUSE DISTRICT 2 RUNOFF
• Steve Tarvin: 1,925
• Neal Florence: 1,648
Note: All results are unofficial until certified by the election commission.
The third time was the charm for Republican Steve Tarvin who on Tuesday night won a runoff election for the Georgia House District 2 seat, getting 1,925 votes to Neal Florence's 1,648, according to unofficial results.
Tarvin, the retired owner of the recently closed Crystal Springs Print Works in Chickamauga, Ga., had previously lost a 2012 primary bid to serve in District 2 and a 2010 primary bid for Georgia's 9th Congressional District seat.
"I'm just very thankful for the people of the 2nd District," Tarvin said by phone around 9 p.m. at a campaign gathering at the agricultural building at the Walker County Civic Center in Rock Spring. "I look forward to going to Atlanta and serving all the people."
Tarvin, who described himself as the more conservative candidate, supports an "unrestricted right to own firearms." He also promised to oppose what he described as Obamacare being forced onto Georgians.
Tuesday's runoff election was to fill the seat left empty by Republican Jay Neal, of LaFayette, Ga., who stepped down to take an appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal to a state Department of Corrections post.
The Georgia Assembly is already plowing through its 40-day session as quickly as possible, so lawmakers can campaign and seek donations for a May primary, which was moved up from one in July.
Before election results were fully counted, Florence said if he lost, he wouldn't seek the District 2 seat again.
"If I lose, no, absolutely not," he said.
Florence announced in April he was stepping down after 23 years as mayor of LaFayette.
"I had not met Steve before we started this process. He's a good guy," Florence said.
The unofficial tally showed 54 percent for Tarvin and 46 for Florence in House District 2, which includes parts of Walker, Catoosa and Whitfield counties. Florence won the vote in Walker County, with 1,397 votes to Tarvin's 1,262. But Tarvin took Catoosa with 355 to Florence's 166. Tarvin also won Whitfield with 308 votes to Florence's 85 votes.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.
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.