Colquitt County criminal prosecutor Brian McDaniel narrowly avoided a runoff in his contest to replace retiring Superior Court Judge Frank Horkan, completing the local runoff picture for the county in July.
McDaniel, an assistant district attorney with the Southern Judicial Circuit, finished with 50.63 percent of the vote in the Tuesday primary and nonpartisan election. He will assume the judgeship in January.
That result was announced well after midnight Wednesday morning.
In the other judicial election in the circuit that includes Brooks, Colquitt, Echols, Lowndes, Thomas counties, James E. Hardy was unopposed and won another four-year term.
McDaniel won four of the circuit’s five counties — coming in second in Lowndes County — and amassed 8,424 votes. Valdosta Municipal Court Judge Vernita Bender, a Colquitt County native, finished second with 4,744 votes and Jason Cain, a Lowndes County assistant public defender, had 3,559 votes.
Of McDaniel’s total, 3,014 came from Colquitt County voters, who gave him 73.07 percent of ballots cast in the race here. He had 44.45 percent of the vote in Brooks County, 44.83 percent in Echols County, 33.09 percent in Lowndes County, and 62.23 percent in Thomas County.
In the District 5 Colquitt County Commission runoff on the Republican ticket, Joe Kem Lacey, owner of Joe Kem’s BBQ Sauce and Catering, will face Paul Nagy, adviser of the Colquitt County Junior ROTC.
Nagy finished with the highest vote count of 395 and Lacey finished second with 273 votes. Roscoe “Rocky” Herndon Jr. was third with 217 votes.
With 44.63 percent of the vote total, Nagy fell short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.
Lacey had his best showings in the Funston and Monk precincts, in which he got 76 votes each. Nagy’s highest totals also were in those precincts, with 115 and 91 votes, respectively.
There is no Democratic opponent for the seat in the fall, making the winner of the runoff the new District 5 commissioners in January. He will replace Commissioner Ray Saunders, who has been in office since 1999 and did not seek re-election.
District 5 also will have a nonpartisan runoff for a Colquitt County School Board seat currently held by Pat Anderson, who finished with 476 votes, or 47.89 percent and Billy Taylor with 455 votes, 45.77 percent. Jerry Holmes had 63 votes for 6.34 percent of the votes.
Anderson’s best showings were in Monk, Doerun and Funston, where she had 133, 122 and 79 votes, respectively. Taylor polled best in Funston, Monk and Hartsfield, with 146, 110 and 58 votes, respectively.
Vote totals are available online at the Georgia Secretary of State’s office at sos.ga.gov. Click on May 20th Primary Election Results at the top of the page, then at the top left select “results by county” and scroll to the bottom of the page where counties are listed. There, visitors can get more information about races by selecting either the contest detail or vote type summary. The first breaks the race down by precinct, while the other gives information about early voting and absentee totals for the candidates.
Colquitt County managed a better turnout, with 24.76 percent of registered voters casting ballots, than the statewide turnout of 19.53 percent.