Congressional Election Too Close to Call

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

ATLANTA – Dr. Paul Broun was confident Wednesday he had pulled off an upset in the race to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, but with fewer than 400 votes between them, his opponent wasn’t ready to concede defeat.

Unofficial returns showed Broun with 23,527 votes to 23,132 votes for former state Sen. Jim Whitehead. The 395 votes separating the two Republicans is within the margin of 1 percent needed for a re-count if the second-place finisher requests it.

Whitehead’s campaign said that based on “the razor-thin margin of votes,” he would wait for Georgia’s secretary of state to certify the results before commenting further.

Email newsletter signup

Whitehead did not return phone calls from The Associated Press. The Augusta Chronicle reported that Whitehead told supporters Tuesday night he expected to fall about 100 votes short. He chalked up the expected loss to special election voters who failed to return to the polls for Tuesday’s runoff, the newspaper said.

Provisional ballots and military and overseas ballots had yet to be counted Wednesday. The votes could be certified by next week, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Karen Handel said.

If Broun wins, it would mark a stunning turnaround.

In the June 19 special election that led to Tuesday’s run-off, Whitehead drew 44 percent of the vote compared to Broun’s 21 percent. Whitehead outspent Broun by a more than 2-to-1 margin and lined up support from most local GOP party leaders, as well as Norwood’s widow. Norwood, a tough-talking conservative, died in February at age 65 after battling cancer and lung disease.

Broun said Wednesday he was helped in the run-off by disaffected Republicans, Democrats and black voters.

“I am apparently going to be the next congressman,” he said. “I think this shows that voters are fed up with status quo, politics as usual.”

On the Net:

Jim Whitehead:

Paul Broun:

A service of the Associated Press(AP)