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Georgia 10th District Election Headed for a Reprint? PDF  | Print |  Email
By Sean Flaherty, Iowans for Voting Integrity   
July 18, 2007
In a remarkable upset Republican Paul Broun has apparently defeated Republican front-runner Jim Whitehead in yesterday’s run-off election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Charlie Norwood.

The run-off between the two Republicans was forced when no candidate received 50% of the vote in last month’s special election. With 98% of the precincts reporting – all but about 1,700 absentee ballots – Broun led Whitehead by a razor-thin margin of 371 votes. New reports speculated about a potential recount, but there is little point in a recounting Georgia’s paperless Diebold touchscreen voting machines since all either candidate can get is a reprint.

Broun’s 371 vote edge was notably close to the 369 vote margin in the still contested race for Florida’s 13th District last November.

Critics complained about the appalling turnout – around 10% of the District’s voters made their way to the polls – and pundits searched for explanations in the effect of Broun’s home base of Clarke County, also the home to the University of Georgia in denying Whitehead victory. Whitehead had been considered the heir apparent to Rep. Norwood, who died of cancer in February.

Going into the run-off confident of victory, the Whitehead campaign held hope of overcoming Broun’d margin when the counting of absentee votes are counted. If Broun's margin holds, Whitehead will have few options in challenging the accuracy of the touchscreen totals.

Politico.com noted that “If that lead holds, it would be one of the more stunning upsets in recent Congressional campaign history. Whitehead held a significant financial edge over Broun throughout the campaign and snagged many key endorsements, including from Norwood’s widow, Gloria. He finished 23 points ahead of Broun in the special election, making it seemingly impossible for Broun to cobble together a majority for the runoff.”
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