Coomer coasts to first State House term
by Jon Gargis
Nov 03, 2010 | 1658 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Loreen Holmes votes at the Manning Mill Park facility in Adairsville. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Tuesday's elections were guaranteed to put a new face in the State House District 14 seat. That face will belong to Republican Christian Coomer.

Coomer took 78.7 percent of local ballots to opponent Dan Ledford's 21.1 percent -- 6,955 to 1,864 votes. With Floyd County voters weighing in, the candidates respective shares of the entire vote total remained about the same, with Coomer earning 10,945 votes to Ledford's 2,992.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity. I'd be remiss if I didn't say 'Thank you' to the people who really worked hard to help us get this far, all the volunteers and certainly everybody that went out to cast a vote today," Coomer said. "I'm excited about the message that we had, which was for conservative principles to be advanced in public service, and I'm looking forward to putting those principles in action in the State House in January."

Coomer said the next few weeks will have him doing some "homework" before he takes office in January.

"Next week, there's a Republican caucus meeting, I've got to go down for some orientation down in Atlanta in December. So there will be some pretty intense prep time in the next two months. It's going to be incumbent on me to start making some phone calls, in addition to the ones I've already made, and say, 'What's the process for this particular endeavor?' 'How do we make this part move, and how do we make that part move?'" he said, adding that one of the things he hopes to do is help state officials forward on the 411 connector, a proposed four-lane highway that would connect U.S. 411 at the U.S. 41 interchange with Interstate 75 near its intersection with Georgia 20.

Coomer succeeds Cassville's Barry Loudermilk, who left his seat to vie for the District 52 State Senate spot. Loudermilk toppled Democrat Mike Burton of Cave Spring in their respective race.

In the other side of the state legislature, Republican and incumbent Bill Heath fended off a challenge from Tracy G. Bennett for his State Senate seat, taking 73.9 percent of local ballots to Bennett's 25.9 percent, 10,333 to 3,627. With 94 percent of District 31 precincts in Bartow, Haralson, Paulding and Polk counties weighing in, Heath's 26,563 supporters gave him 71.4 percent of the electorate to Bennett's 10,631 ballots. The district covers all of Haralson and Polk counties and portions of Bartow and Paulding.

"I'm honored that the voters trust me to represent them for another two years," said Heath, who has served in the senate since 2004. "They've been good to me, and Bartow County has always been good to me, so I'm very appreciative of that."

Heath says he believes the next two years may be more challenging for the state compared to the two-year term he is currently wrapping up, at least when it comes to the state's financial situation.

"It's going to be a very difficult budget year, and probably be a very difficult budget year two years from now, or a year from now, however you look at it -- the 2012 session is going to be a tough one also," he said. "There's going to be a couple of tough budget years ahead of us, but we'll work through it."