published Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Steve Tarvin, Neal Florence in run-off for Georgia House District 2 seat

VOTE TOTALS

• Steve Tarvin: 1,072 votes, 38 percent

• Neal Florence: 964 votes, 34 percent

• Doug Woodruff: 774 votes, 28 percent

Source: Unofficial election results, Georgia Secretary of State

If the cold weather kept anyone away from the polls in Tuesday's special election to fill the Georgia House District 2 seat, never fear — they'll get another chance.

A runoff election will be held Feb. 4, since none of the three Republican candidates captured the 50 percent plus one vote required to win the seat vacated by Jay Neal, R-Chickamauga, who stepped down to take an appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal to a state Department of Corrections post.

So the two top vote-getters, Steve Tarvin and Neal Florence, will meet again in the run-off.

Tarvin, 62, was president and CEO of the recently closed Crystal Springs Print Works textile plant in Chickamauga. Florence, 62, is an independent pharmacist in LaFayette who recently resigned as that city's longtime mayor.

The third time running for office was the charm for Tarvin, who in 2012 made an unsuccessful Republican primary bid against Neal for the seat. In 2010, Tarvin came in third in the special election Tom Graves won for Georgia's 9th U.S. Congressional District seat.

"We worked hard," Tarvin said around 9:15 p.m. after the final unofficial results came in. He credited his win to "name recognition and hard work. We had a lot of people working for us."

Tarvin described himself as the most conservative candidate in the race.

Florence never lost an election during his 23-year stint as mayor of LaFayette, Ga.

"We were not disappointed," he said of his second-place finish that kept him in the running. "Any time you put three guys in it, you can almost always expect a runoff."

Florence summed up his philosophy, should voters on Feb. 4 send him to Atlanta, as "basically just not try to waste anybody's money."

Doug Woodruff, 50, is a Ringgold attorney who in 2012 ran to be Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit district attorney and lost by 42 votes out of some 22,000 votes cast.

House District 2 includes portions of Walker, Catoosa and Whitfield counties.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

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.

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