MOULTRIE -- Some said it was a risky move for Saxby Chambliss to give up his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and a chairmanship of an anti-terrorism subcommittee to go up against incumbent Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga. As of press time Tuesday, Chambliss was proving the naysayers wrong.

Chambliss carried his home county 5,146 to Cleland's 2,844. Libertarian Claude Thomas garnered one vote. At midnight, 88 percent of Georgia's precincts were in, and Chambliss was winning 52.5 percent over Cleland's 46.2 and Thomas's 1.4 percent.

The latest state polls did have Chambliss leading by one percent over Cleland when just weeks ago he was lagging behind by more than 20 percent.

Chambliss' staff likened his sudden surge in popularity to the Saxby Gale -- a historical storm in the late 1800s predicted almost exactly one year before it hit.

"Saxby Chambliss will make history in Georgia a little more than a year after he announced his candidacy," spokeswoman Michelle Hitt said. "This race has been about leadership and Max Cleland's out-of-touch voting record."

In other races, the majority of Colquitt County voters preferred Republican Sonny Perdue for governor over incumbent Roy Barnes. Perdue got 5,119 to Barnes' 2,764. Libertarian Garrett M. Hayes received 142 of the votes cast.

At midnight with 88 percent of the state's vote in, Perdue was rallying 51.2 percent over Barnes' 46.5 percent and Hayes' 2.4 percent.

Democrat Mark Taylor won the county 4,388 over 3,425 for Steve Stancil. Libertarian Herbert Galloway III got 132 votes. At press time with 83 percent of precincts in, Taylor had 52.6 percent over Stancil's 44.8 percent and Galloway's 2.6 percent.

In a tight race for the Georgia Senate District 11 seat, Democrat Sen. Harold Ragan lost Colquitt County 2,387 to Rep. John Bulloch's 2,493. At midnight with 97 percent of precincts in, Bulloch was taking the Senate seat from under Ragan by a slim 50.2 percent over 49.8 percent.

Another Republican, Carden Summers, received 1,775 Colquitt County votes over incumbent Sen. Rooney Bowen's 1,147 for state Senate District 13. At press time with 80 percent precincts in, Bowen was leading 54.2 percent to Summers' 45.8 percent.

In the notorious bout between Democrat Craig Mathis and Republican Ed Rynders for the new House District 137, Rynders overwhelmingly took Colquitt County 1,603 over 904. At press time with 79 percent of the state's precincts in, Rynders was winning 64.4 percent to Mathis' 35.6 percent.

Democrat Richard Royal won Colquitt County, but 26-year-old Republican Travis Flanders acquired more than half the county's votes. Royal got 2,290 to Flanders' 1,359.

At press time with 91 precincts showing, Royal won 72 percent over Flanders' 28 percent.



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