The election, which encompassed parts of Cherokee and Cobb counties in addition to Bartow, has narrowed a field of five candidates down to two. The runoff, coming Dec. 3, will determine who takes Barry Loudermilk’s old seat in the Georgia Senate.
In Bartow County, Laughridge received 811 votes, or 33.86 percent of the total. Thompson received the highest number of votes, 1,033, good enough for 43.13 percent of the total vote. Getting such a large percentage, Thompson said, was a good feeling.
“It feels awesome. The reality is you’d love to win the thing right out, but I think everyone knew that you basically have six people on the ballot that makes it incredibly [difficult] to just win the thing outright. So, [I’m] very, very pleased to be first,” Thompson said.
In Bartow County, Democrat Christopher Nesmith received 261 votes, or 10.9 percent of the total vote, while Republican Dwight Pullen received 161 votes, or 6.72 percent of the total. Republican Nicole Ebbeskotte came in last with 129 votes and 5.39 percent of the total. A total of 2,395 votes were cast in Bartow for the District 14 race.
Making it to a runoff pleased Laughridge.
“I tell you what, it’s a very, very, very humbling feeling. It’s amazing. It’s something that when you work really hard and you get the support that you wanted, you realize this is for the greater good,” he said.
For his part, Thompson believed his message and platform resonated with voters in all three areas.
“Well, the reality is we’re a clean candidate. We worked really hard. I believe the principles and the foundation that I’m running on resonates very well with people in each county, because the challenge is in the hearts and minds in the people of all the counties. They’re concerned with the bickering that goes on at the Assembly. The concerns about economic growth. They want jobs. Education is on their minds, and transportation,” he said.
Laughridge also credited staying on message and focusing on the issues as the reason for his success.
“My sincerity, talking about a true issue,” he said. “There’s [been] a lot of distractions throughout the campaign, but I stuck to talking about the issues. I stuck to focusing on the campaign on what our objectives are and I think a lot of people saw that and they wanted to be a part of that.”
As the Dec. 3 date approaches, both candidates are looking toward the runoff race and how to reach out to voters.
“Look forward for us to just mobilize once again and get back out there,” said Thompson. “The reality is Cherokee County spoke pretty loudly that you had three candidates on the ballot for Cherokee and I still came in second.”
Laughridge said his campaign was working to gear back up for the next race.
“I think that’s something we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and talk about and get some great advice from people, and try to go back out. Whatever we do is 150 percent effort into it,” he said.
According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, Thompson received 1,170 votes in Cherokee County, which came to 27.56 percent of the vote. Laughridge received 887 votes and 20.90 percent of the total. Those numbers are less than Pullen’s 1,349 votes and 31.78 percentage. Nesmith received 478 votes, or 11.26 percent of the total. Ebbeskotte received 361 votes and 8.5 percent of the total. For Cherokee’s portion of District 14 a total of 4,245 votes were cast.
In Cobb County, Thompson received 200 votes, or 35.91 percent of the total cast. Laughridge earned 142 votes and 25.49 percent of the total. Nesmith gathered 124 votes and 22.26 percent of the total. Ebbeskotte gained 63 votes and 11.31 percent while Pullen earned 28 votes and 5.03 percent of the total. In all, 557 votes were cast in Cobb.
All voting numbers are unofficial until the Georgia Secretary of State confirms them later this week. Bartow County Election Supervisor Joseph Kirk said the numbers would be confirmed Friday at 5:05 p.m.