Burke has most votes in State Senate race, runoff to be held

Published 8:39 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dean Burke of Bainbridge had the most votes in the State Senate District 11 Special Election, but it appears a runoff election will be needed on February 5 between Burke and second-place finisher Mike Keown of Thomas County.

Neither man had the required 50 percent of votes to win the special election outright, so a runoff will be held in February 5—only next time, it will just be between Burke and Keown, and not the six candidates who were on the ballot Tuesday.

With most of the votes counted, Burke had 5,283 votes to Keown’s 4,635 throughout the district, which includes the counties of Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole and Thomas.

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Brad Hughes of Early County was third with 969 votes, followed by Eugene McNease of Thomasville with 582 votes, Jeffrey G. Bivins of Grady County with 803 votes and Marshall Berman with 132 votes.

Burke said he was pleased to learn he garnered the most votes in Tuesday’s special election.

“I’m excited. It’s a testament to what the volunteers and people working for me have been able to accomplish. It’s surprising, since I was not well known outside of my home county prior to the election.”

In Decatur County, Burke won with 2,005 votes to Keown’s 333 votes. In contrast, voter turnout in the more densely populated Colquitt County was only 1,684 people.

“It’s rewarding to think that the people of Decatur County, the folks who know me the best, had that kind of confidence and support for me.”

Burke won Colquitt County—where the city of Moultrie is located—with 899 votes to Keown’s 499. Burke acknowledged more spending time there than in Thomas or Grady County because of contacts he has made in Moultrie.

However, Burke said he planned to re-visit all of the counties in the State Senate district, to continue to get to know voters and local leaders.

Burke said he has been preparing for the possibility of a runoff election since the start.

“We hope to have a good turnout in February. Our job is to keep people excited and add to tonight’s total as best as we can.”

Keown won Thomas County, with 1,758 votes to Burke’s 526, as well as Grady County, with 1,119 to Burke’s 475.

Keown was also the leader in Mitchell County, with 279 votes to Burke’s 178.

Hughes won Early County, with 450 votes to Keown’s 319 and Burke’s 245.

In Seminole County, where Burke has family ties, he won with 691 votes to Keown’s 209.

He also led in Miller County, with 264 votes to Keown’s 120.