Moultrie Observer

Local News

February 5, 2013

Burke wins Senate race

Will fill post vacated by former Sen. John Bullock

MOULTRIE — In a special election runoff for the most southwestern corner of the state, Bainbridge physician Dean Burke has pulled out a victory over fellow Republican Mike Keown of Coolidge.

With all eight counties reporting, Burke finished with 7,738 votes, or 58.42 percent of ballots cast in unofficial results. Keown had 5,507 votes, or 41.58 percent in the results posted on the Georgia Secretary of State web site.

Results are considered unofficial until they are certified by the Secretary of State’s office.

Keown issued a concession on Facebook at about 9 p.m.

“I just called Dean Burke and wished him my best as your next state senator,” he said in his post in which he thanked supporters. “The final results are not in but they will be shortly and we cannot win. I ran the race my way and because of that I can accept the final result.”

Burke also thanked supporters and declared victory on the social media site at about 9:20 p.m.

Burke, an ob-gyn has served on the Bainbridge City Council since 2007. He will take office during the current legislative session.

Burke and Coolidge minister Mike Keown were put into the runoff when neither received a majority in a Jan. 8 contest.

Keown is best known for nearly pulling an upset of Democratic U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop in 2010. He had previously served in the Georgia House.

The district includes all of Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller and Seminole counties and a portion of Mitchell and Thomas counties. In that contest Burke finished with 42.59 percent of votes, followed by Keown’s 37.35 percent in an six-candidate field.

The election was held to fill the seat vacated by longtime legislator John Bulloch. The Ochlocknee Republican won re-election in November without opposition, but resigned a month later. He gave no explanation in his resignation letter, but several media outlets had reported he suffered meningitis in October.

Bulloch had served in the Senate since 2002, as well as two terms in the state House of Representatives before that. A farmer by profession, he served as chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, vice chairman of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee and member of the Rules and Appropriations committees.

In Colquitt County 9.48 percent of registered voters turned out for the race, a little more than in the Jan. 8 special election. Voters here went for Burke by a margin of 1,144 to 744, with Burke finishing with 60.59 percent among Colquitt County voters.

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