Here are Tuesday night's local election result highlights at a glance.
(Note: Figures include all 27 Muscogee County precincts reporting, but results are unofficial)
Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney
Julia Slater, the Democratic incumbent, held off Republican challenger Mark Post by winning four of the Chattahoohoochee Judicial Circuit's six counties, including Muscogee County by 63.77 percent (40,333) to 36.16 percent (22,873). Slater also won Chattahoochee County 736 to 639, Marion County 1,584 to 1,379 and Talbot County 1,962 to 1,163. Post won Harris County 10,235 to 4,528 and Taylor County 1,651 to 1,626.
Muscogee County Sheriff
Muscogee County Sheriff John T. Darr easily was re-elected, retaining the badge in a resounding victory over former Columbus police officer Mark LaJoye. The Democratic incumbent took more than three-quarters of the vote, according to unofficial tallies. With all votes except provisionals counted, Darr took the victory with 48,396 votes or 76.18 percent. LaJoye had 15,065 votes or 23.71 percent.
U.S. House, Georgia District 2
Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop, representing a district spreading from Columbus to Albany to Macon. cruised to victory over Republican challenger John House in the race for U.S. House of Representatives District 2. Bishop easily carried Columbus, home to House, a U.S. Army retiree who lives in the Midland area of the city. Unofficial vote totals compiled by the Ledger-Enquirer showed Bishop with 34,621 votes, or 72.4 percent, compared to 13,168, or 27.6 percent, for House. District-wide, with 26 of 29 counties reporting late Tuesday night, the incumbent’s vote total was 158,453, or 63.7 percent, with 90,385 votes for House, or 36.3 percent.
Two veteran Democratic lawmakers, state Rep. Calvin Smyre and state Rep. Carolyn Hugley, soundly defeated Republican challengers in Georgia House Districts 135 and 136, respectively. Smyre, the dean of the local legislative delegation, ran away from challenger Danny Arencibia by 77-23 percent margin of the more than 13,000 votes cast in unofficial returns for House District 135. Hugley dominated Republican Randy Kitchens in the race for House District 136. In unofficial returns on more than 18,000 votes cast, Hugley was leading by a 78-22 percent margin.
Democratic incumbent and Columbus resident Ed Harbison surged to re-election in Georgia State Senate District 15 Tuesday night, fending off Republican challenger David Brown. District 15 includes a portion of Muscogee County and all of Chattahoochee, Macon, Marion, Schley, Talbot and Taylor counties. With five of those seven counties reporting late Tuesday night, Harbison had accumulated 36,995 votes, or 74.3 percent, to Brown’s 12,743, or 25.6 percent, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s online election results.
Sunday alcohol sales
Columbus voters overwhelmingly approved Sunday package alcohol sales in Muscogee County. With all precincts reporting, yes votes outnumbered no votes 37,716 to 26,778, or 58.5 percent to 41.5 percent. The ordinance that Columbus Council approved in late January to place the referendum on the ballot states that if it is approved, it will go into effect on Saturday, Dec. 1, making Sunday, Dec. 2 the first day sales will be legal.
Charter schools amendment
Proponents of public school choice will have another way to get their charter school petitions approved in Georgia if Tuesday night’s election returns continue their trend. With 154 of 159 counties reporting, the ballot’s Constitutional Amendment No. 1 was leading by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent. The amendment was approved in all local counties. Control over charters now rests mostly with local school boards, though operators who are denied can appeal to the Georgia Board of Education. This amendment will allow the state to create a charter commission to consider petitions rejected by their local schools board and the state board.