AP: Graves wins runoff in 9th

Republican Tom Graves headed to victory Tuesday in a special election to replace Rep. Nathan Deal, The Associated Press reported.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Graves garnered 56.8 percent of the vote to Lee Hawkins’ 43.2 percent, according to the secretary of state’s office. Local Tea Party members threw their support behind Graves.

During a May 11 special election, Graves, a Ranger Republican and former state representative, topped a crowded field, taking 34.8 percent of the vote – below the 50 percent plus one vote majority he needed to avoid a runoff. Hawkins, a Gainesville Republican and former state senator, came in second during the May 11 special election, pulling in 23.2 percent of the ballots cast.

A total of eight candidates – six Republicans, a Democrat and an independent – qualified to replace Deal, a Republican who resigned from Congress in March to run for governor. Deal had held the seat since 1992.

Graves will be running in the July 20 Republican primary in advance of November’s election.

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