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Runoff winners, losers reflect on election results
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The Covington News recently caught up with all the candidates in the state runoff elections and spoke with them about their campaigns, the results of the vote and what comes next for these candidates.


State Representative 95 (D)

Pam Dickerson, who trailed behind incumbent Toney Collins in the primary, emerged victorious in Tuesday’s Democratic State Representative District 95 runoff. Dickerson, a former flight attendant, believes it was the personal attention she gave to the campaign that boosted her chances.

"We canvassed neighborhoods, walked the streets and made phone calls while campaigning in the runoff," Dickerson said. "So we’re going to continue to keep doing what we’ve been doing and meet with constituents and get the word out. There will be forums coming up, and hopefully there will be more participation from the district’s constituents, as these forums are not as well-attended as we like."

Dickerson was recently endorsed by her former opponent Andrea "Andre" Cooper and hopes to work with Collins in the near future.

"I want to accomplish the goals I have in mind in terms of my platform of education and public safety. I want to look at what he was unable to finish during his term and see what he would like to see accomplished. It’s not about the opposition; it’s about the people."

Collins, who remains proud of the campaign he ran, felt that it was all about giving voters a reason to come out to the polls, which is tough for a run-off election.

"I plan to support those people who really want to make a difference in the 95th District and to take care of what I initially came in for and that’s pushing for healthcare and help those that really need help socially and economically — not just in the next six months, but for the rest of my life. I will always be there to help in my district."

Dickerson took in 53.6 percent (660) of the votes in the district, with Collins scoring 46.4 percent (572). Collins previously won the primary with 42.9 percent and Dickerson with 33.5 percent. Dickerson faces Republican Rodney Upton in the general election.

State Senate 17 (R)

Even though Todd Hilton won the majority of Newton County ballots with 52 percent (3,135), he fell short in the overall district votes with 39.9 percent.

Hilton, a technology director for Social Circle City Schools, ran a campaign focused on improving education by putting an educator into the political process. He made a point in his campaign of not asking for donations or running negative ads.

"It is turning the page on a chapter, but it is not the end of the book," Hilton said. "I’m very pleased at how I did. It’s the first time venturing into politics. I am delayed, not defeated.

I’m very happy with the way things went the whole race. Rick ran a good clean race and he’ll represent the district well."

Jeffares, a former Henry County Commissioner and owner of J&T Environmental Services, collected 60.1 percent (10,708) of the statewide vote, while gathering 47.95 percent (2,888) from Newton County.

"We had a lot of hard work from a lot of volunteers and there was probably about 20 or 30 people I didn’t even know that were really active during the entire campaign, knocking on doors and making phone calls. I think that was the key to winning the run-off. So that’s what we’re going to keep doing," Jeffares said.

According to a previous article from The News, Jeffares was elected to the Henry County Board of Commission in 2008 and resigned that seat to run for State Senate District 17. He said didn’t plan to run for state office, but when current Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) decided not to seek reelection, it caught everyone off guard and presented an opportunity.

"I hope Newton County Republicans will come out and support the Republican candidate for District 17. That’s our hope and that’s what we’ll be working on in the next six months."

Jeffares and Democratic nominee Jim Nichols will battle for the seat previously occupied by Republican John Douglas.

Public Service Commission District 2 (R)

Sen. John Douglas may have garnered overwhelming support from Newton County voters, but fell short in district totals, making Tim Echols the Republican candidate in PSC District 2 race. It was a close race; Douglas received 47.7 percent (226,040) of statewide ballots and Echols gathered 52.3 percent (247,974). However, Douglas took a whopping 68 percent of Newton County votes.

"It’s been a great honor serving Newton County for the last 12 years on the school board, House and Senate," Douglas said. "I’m still going to stay involved — I’m not going away and I plan to continue to be a part of the community. I look forward to new challenges and will continue to contribute to the quality of life we have here in Newton County and Covington."

Douglas was State Senator of District 17 for six years before deciding against reelection to run for the PSC seat. Douglas served four years on the Newton County Board of Education and two years in the Georgia House of Representatives. He was also a career U.S. Army officer.

"I plan on going to work with Rick Jeffares, who will succeed me and work with his campaign in transition. I’m going to work for Nathan Deal to get him elected governor and all other Republican candidates to get them elected in November."

Small business entrepreneur and TeamPact founder Echols vows he will be an activist commissioner and plans to travel around the state to speak with schools, Kiwanis, Rotary Clubs and others. By utilizing the opportunity to discuss the issues, he feels it will best service Georgia consumers by allowing them to be engaged on energy and utility issues that will affect every resident.

"Our campaign strategy was very simple: to maximize the use of very limited financial resources. Volunteers went door-to-door, making phone calls. They also did something I don’t think that’s been done before; volunteers sent out postcards with personalized message and stamp on behalf of the campaign."

Echols looks forward to spend more time in Newton and Rockdale to garner the votes he was unable to get in the runoff. He hopes to work with his former opponents Sen. John Douglas, Rep. Jeff May of Monroe and Sen. Joseph Brush of in order to defeat Democratic challenger Keith Moffett.

"I really enjoyed debating; it was one of the most enjoyable parts of the campaign with Senator Douglas, debating on the issues," Echols added.

Echols and Moffett, who called Echols to congratulate him Wednesday morning, will be vying for the open seat on the commission in the general election.

State Rep. 110 (R)

Andrew J. Welch III won 54.2 percent (3,336) of the votes, defeating challenger Lee M. Spahos for the Republican nomination. Welch received 60.91 percent (910) of the voters from Newton County; Spahos took in 45.8 percent (2,824) from statewide results and 39.09 percent (584) from Newton. Welch will go up against Democrat Rudy Cox in November.