WDUN Radio/Access North Georgia: Hawkins Defeats Musselwhite

August 9, 2006
ACCESS NORTH GEORGIA

Hawkins defeats Musselwhite
from staff reports/Access North Georgia

GAINESVILLE – Lee Hawkins defeated Mark Musselwhite Tuesday in the hotly contested race for the Republican nomination for the 49th State Senate seat.

With a 17.4 percent turnout, unofficial returns in Hall County show Hawkins with 5,760 votes, or 58%, to Musselwhite’s 4,169 votes, or 42%. In Jackson County, Hawkins got 55% of the vote to Musselwhite’s 45%.

Hawkins with his supporters at Best Western in Gainesville, said he is grateful to the people for voting for him, and is moving forward to the race in November against Gainesville attorney Democrat Arturo Corso

Voter turnout in Hall County was 17 percent, compared to 25 percent three weeks ago.

“I would like to say thank you for everyone for their support,” he said. “I promise you I will work hard for the citizens of Hall and Jackson County.”

He said he tried to keep the campaign against Musselwhite in perspective.

“I am very much aware that this campaign was really never about the candidates,” he said. “As much as it was about people we represent.”

The former Mayor of Gainesville and his supporters watched the results come in on a computer projection at Hunt Tower downtown – and about two hours after the polls closed, Musselwhite, with his wife and daughter by his side, made his concession announcement.

Afterwards he said he did not expect to lose the race and was not sure what else he could have done to score a win, but stressed he was proud he conducted a clean race.

“Should I have sent out another mailer, should I have knocked on more doors? I just can’t answer what would be the difference, other than I feel good about the decisions my wife and I made on this campaign,” Musselwhite said.

Campaign manager Steve Gilliam said he was proud of the candidate he worked for.

“Mark was a true statesman. He’s a friend, he was positive throughout the campaign and had great people supporting him and I look for him to do other things in the future,” Gilliam said.

For the immediate future Musselwhite said he plans to spend more time with his family and his business.

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