Low voter turnout means runoff could go either way

By: Jonathan Martin Email
By: Jonathan Martin Email

July 17, 2007

MARTINEZ, Ga.---Paul Broun from Oconee County; Jim Whitehead from Columbia County. One will be Georgia's newest Congressman. The two men are the survivors from a field of ten that started this race. Today, the voters decide.

This is a big election, as the winner will go to Washington. But turnout so far has been anything but big.

The 10th Congressional District spans about 21 counties, and in three of the major counties, expected turnout is about the same: low.

Expected Voter Turnout
Richmond Co. 11-14%
Columbia Co. 10%
Athens-Clarke Co. 8-10%

Paul Broun and Jim Whitehead have a lot in common. Both are Republicans, and they agree on a lot of the key issues. The big difference is where they live.

Some are calling this a race pitting Athens against Augusta or Columbia County, with Whitehead being a former State Senator and business owner in the Augusta area, and Paul Broun being a physician in the Athens area.

Both men say they feel they've done a good job connecting with voters in both areas.

"I think that's what people are wanting. They're wanting to see some change in Washington, and that's what I'll do for them," Broun said.

"We are really excited," said Whitehead. "We feel like our people are going back to the polls, and that's what it's all about."

In last month's election, Whitehead walked away with about 44 percent of the vote to Broun's 20 percent.

News 12 went to Martinez Elementary in Columbia County to see how voter turnout was looking. As of News 12 at 6 o'clock, 19 to 20 percent of the precinct had voted.

Be sure to stay with News 12 for updated election results throughout the night, as well as reactions from both candidates.


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