Bartow candidates Bruce Thompson and Matt Laughridge were the top two vote getters in the special election, but since neither garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, they will square off in a runoff Dec. 3, election officials said.
District 14 covers parts of Cherokee, Bartow and Cobb counties.
In unofficial results, Thompson led the five candidates with 2,403 votes, or about 33.38 percent of the vote in the three-county race, and Laughridge came in second with 1,840, or 25.56 percent. In Cherokee County, Thompson got 1,170 votes, and Laughridge got 887.
Dwight Pullen, a Canton resident, came in third in the race with 1,538 votes overall, or 21.37 percent of the vote in the three-county race. Pullen, however, won Cherokee County with 1,349 votes over Thompson’s 1,170.
The only Democrat in the non-partisan race, Christopher G. Nesmith, of Adairsville, came in fourth with 863 votes of 11.99 percent, and Nicole Ebbeskottee of Woodstock trailed the field with 553 votes, or 7.68 percent.
Thompson said Tuesday night with five candidates, he wasn’t exactly surprised to see the election headed to a runoff.
“Obvi-ously, we would’ve loved to win this thing outright,” Thompson said. “(But) we’re very, very pleased.”
Thompson said he was proud to come in first overall, even if it wasn’t more than 50 percent of the vote.
“We did very well in Cherokee County. We won Bartow County,” he said. “We stuck to our budget plan. There’s nothing for us to say that’s negative.”
And now, he’s looking forward to the runoff.
Laughridge also said he’s prepared to continue his campaign to victory and that he feels “great” about his chances.
“I feel like we’ve got still a lot of work to do,” Laughridge said. “I feel just very humbled to be in the position I’m in … and to have ran against some great candidates. It was challenging and complicated at times, but I think sticking to the issues served me well.”
Pullen said he was overwhelmed with the support he did receive.
“I’m very proud of all my supporters,” Pullen said. “(I’m) just thankful that God placed them into my life for this short period. I wish my opponents well in their political endeavors. But I just want to thank all my supporters.”
He added to come in third and lead Cherokee County “was a respectable showing in a five-person race.”
Ebbeskotte and Nesmith could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.