Whitehead has lead but heads for runoff

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June 19, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Republican Jim Whitehead appears headed to a runoff in the race to replace the late Congressman Charlie Norwood in Georgia's Tenth Distict. With 89 percent of the votes in, the former state senator has 18-thousand, 727 votes -- or 41 percent.

But that is not be enough to avoid a runoff with either Democrat Jim Marlow or Republican Paul Broun -- who are separated by just 295 votes.

Seven other candidates share the rest.

A light turnout was reported throughout the northeast Georgia district.

William Jackson has won the race to replace Whitehead for the District 24 Senate seat. Jackson has 62 percent of the vote with 79 percent of the returns in.

Norwood, a seven-term Republican, died in February after fighting cancer and lung disease.

The largely rural House district, which includes Athens and parts of Augusta, has voted Republican for more than a decade, and political analysts expect that trend to continue.

Experts said it would be hard for any one candidate to win the majority necessary to avoid a runoff. The top two finishers will face off on July 17th.

The district includes the counties of Banks, Clarke, Columbia, Elbert, Franklin, Greene, Habersham, Hart, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, McDuffie, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Wilkes, and part of Richmond.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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