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Four More Years for Mayor Nancy Denson

Photo Credit: Heather Kennedy/Flickr

Polls are closed. It’s all over but the countin’. Election returns should start coming in in about an hour, so check back. We’ll be updating this post throughout the evening.

8:28 p.m: About 150 people are at Little Kings for Tim Denson’s party. His campaign is giving him a 50-50 shot. They drove 1,000 people to the polls today, they said.

District 3 candidate Rachel Watkins is reporting a (relatively) good turnout in District 3. 

“I think the District 3 had a bigger turnout than other districts because people are more involved in District 3,” she said. “I was holding up signs at Chase Street at 7 a.m. this morning and again at Clarke Central around noon, where people showed their (support) by honking their horns.”

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Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones

District 3 candidate Rachel Watkins at the Hi-Lo Lounge.

9:07: Results! With eight of 24 precincts reporting, Nancy’s leading with 53 percent of the vote.

Two of those precincts are majority African American Stroud Elementary and Clarke Central, where Tim and Nancy are splitting the vote right down the middle (180-191 and 107-100, respectively). Nancy won 353-305 in 5A (her home base of Forest Heights), 220-104 in 5D (Jefferson Road), 212-155 in 6D (Atlanta Highway) and 200-183 in 7C (Macon Highway). Tim won 256-108 in 3B (Newtown/Pulaski Heights). Still waiting on results from the Eastside, Five Points and Prince Avenue.

9:23: With three of four precincts reporting, Herb Gilmore has 34 percent, Melissa Link 33 percent, Rachel Watkins 24 percent and Dustin Kirby 10 percent. Chase Street School returns haven’t come in, and they’ll be huge for Watkins and Link.

Jared election night web.jpg

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones

Commissioner Jared Bailey talks to former Mayor Heidi Davison at Normal Bar while awaiting election results.

Commissioner Jared Bailey leads Dave Hudgins 54 percent to 46 percent in District 5. He won in both 5A and 5D.

9:27: We could have done this months ago, but let’s call the Republican governor’s race for Nathan Deal and the Democratic Senate race for Michelle Nunn.

Jack Kingston and David Perdue have opened up a big lead in the Republican Senate race with 32 and 29 percent, respectively. Karen Handel has 17 percent, Paul Broun 11 percent and Phil Gingrey 9 percent.

In the school superintendent race, Valarie Wilson has 31 percent, Denise Freeman 24 percent and Alisha Thomas Morgan 23 percent for the Democrats; the Republicans are bunch up with Michael Buck (20 percent) and Richard Woods (19 percent) at the top of the heap.

About a fifth of precincts statewide are reporting.

9:47: With 12 precincts reporting, Nancy leads 56 percent to 44 percent. She won 639–417 at Barnett Shoals School, 319–171 at Whitehead Road School and 241–130 at Gaines School. Tim won 235–171 at Memorial Park.

Only one precinct is in, but Sharyn Dickerson is trouncing Commissioner Doug Lowry 646–384 in District 1.

Nancy election night web.jpg

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones

Mayor Nancy Denson watches election returns with state Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville).

Intern Joshua L. Jones caught up with Nancy, who addressed the low turnout today: “Low turnout is always a concern for me, concern for our democracy, because it’s not healthy to have a few people making decisions for the whole country, but because of low turnout, every vote counts even more,” she said. “The feedback I’ve been getting, I feel good. I feel like it’s going to be OK.”

10:05: Looks a runoff between Mike Collins and Jody Hice in the Republican 10th Congressional District primary to replace Paul Broun (who’s running a distant fourth in the Senate race). Both have 34 percent. Collins can do the splits between two trucks, while Hice failed a pop quiz on the Constitution. This could be fun.

10:12: Nancy has opened up a 57–43 lead over Tim with 18 of 24 precincts reporting. Nancy won 289–128 in Winterville, 405–166 on Mitchell Bridge Road, 638–192 on Timothy Road, 241–130 at Cedar Shoals and 217–155 at the Barnett Shoals fire station. Not really a surprise, especially the first three—they’re some of the most conservative precincts in Athens. Still no Chase Street, so there is at least a sliver of hope for Tim, but 1,200 votes is a lot to make up.

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Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones

Nancy celebrates with grandson Eric Schleicher at Buffalo’s Southwest Cafe after a big round of results.

10:32: Well, four more years. Nancy holds a 59–41 lead with only one precinct (Whit Davis) outstanding. Tim won Chase Street 417–90, but Nancy won East Athens Baptist 337–149, J.J. Harris 212–99, Cleveland Road 279–84, Alps Elementary 273–193 and Whitehead Road 319–171. It appears that about 3,500 early votes have yet to be counted, but Tim is down almost 1,900 votes—an impossible margin to make up.

In District 3, Melissa Link (39 percent) and Rachel Watkins (36 percent) will face off in July. Herb Gilmore won 18 percent and Dustin Kirby 11 percent. Link and Gilmore split the Hancock Corridor/Rocksprings vote, while Watkins and Link split the Cobbham/Boulevard vote.

Commissioner Jared Bailey won re-election in District 5 with 54 percent.

Sharyn Dickerson is poised to oust Commissioner Doug Lowry, leading  58–42 in District 1.

10:38: Intern Erica Techo, reporting from the Board of Elections’ vote-counting headquarters, said early votes will be uploaded in a few minutes.

10:45: Whit Davis is in, and Nancy has added 67 votes to her lead. Tim would need 80 percent of early votes to win, which is not going to happen.

10: 49: And the early votes are in. Nancy won 2,197 of them to Tim’s 1,374. Overall, she won 60 percent to 40 percent. Turnout was 26 percent, a little higher than the 21–22 percent predicted. Good show, Tim, and congratulations, Madame Mayor.

10:52: Dickerson has indeed beaten District 1 Commissioner Lowry by a shocking 20-point margin. Bailey kept his seat with an eight-point win over Hudgins. The final tally in District 3 is Link 37 percent, Watkins 33, Gilmore 21 and Kirby 9.

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Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones

Tim Denson talks to a supporter at Little Kings on Election Night.

12:11: Tim gave an impassioned concession speech in which he pledged to keep fighting for a living wage, child care and free transit.

“It doesn’t matter that I had fewer votes,” he said. “It doesn’t matter that Nancy has four more years. Because she’ll have to deal with me and the thousands of voters who want an Athens for everyone.”

12:23: Well, no more Paul Broun. Our congressman finished fourth in his bid for U.S. Senate with 10 percent of the vote, tying with Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta. Karen Handel also fell short with 22 percent. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, who won 26 percent, will face businessman David Perdue, who won 30 percent, in the July 22 runoff.

The tea party fought against both; along with House Speaker David Ralston’s resounding victory in his Blue Ridge district, this could be the death knell for its influence.

In the race to replace Broun in District 10, Hice and Collins both won 33 percent of the vote and made the runoff.