News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The 12th Congressional race is one of the closest we've seen.
Candidate Lee Anderson has already secured his spot in the runoff, and about 584 votes separate Rick Allen from a third place Wright McLeod for the other runoff spot.
The secretary of state says a small number of votes are still out there, but Allen is moving full steam ahead, preparing for a runoff that will take place later this month.
"We're running like we're in the runoff, and we will continue to do that until notified otherwise," he said.
The second place victory, qualifying Allen for a runoff, isn't official just yet. His competitor, McLeod, shows no sign of throwing in the towel.
"We didn't get much sleep last night. It's just part of it. It's a great exercise in patience and strategy," he explained.
With few outstanding votes in District 12, Anderson leads with 34 percent, Allen at 26 percent, McLeod on his heels at 25 percent and Sheffield finishing up with 15 percent.
"We feel like we're the best candidate to take on John Barrow in November," Allen said.
Even with a heated sheriff's race and more people voting Democrat in Richmond County, Allen is still pleased.
"Hey, we had 60,000 Republican primary voters ... America's back!" Allen said.
Now the local businessman is turning his sights to the runoff.
"We're getting a lot of calls already from people around the district who want to support us, and so we're really encouraged by that so it's really been a very uplifting day," he said. "We're working the telephones, and we go back out into the district early next week."
And he's ready to take on Anderson.
"The runoff is a completely different race than the primary. It's just the two of us. Lee is a career politician. I'm a conservative businessman, and I'm not a politician," Allen said.
News 12 did try to get an interview with McLeod, but our calls and emails were not returned.
Late Wednesday afternoon he did issue this statement to supporters:
"Thank you to all of my supporters who have been so committed and gracious during this campaign. Sheri and I are grateful for all of the hard work you have done to get us where we are today. With 500 votes separating second and third place, we are now considering our next steps.
There are still two outstanding counties with votes uncounted in the race. After the results are finalized, we then have two days to request a recount. At this time, we are leaving that option on the table. I must consider whether or not a recount would be in the best interest of the voters of the 12th District. Our campaign recognizes that requesting such would provide a 'trust but verify' approach to the election results and allow us all to move forward."