WEST POINT — It’s half time for Republicans vying to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican, and Democrats made their choice Tuesday in party primary races for U.S. House of Representatives District 3.
Former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson and state Sen. Mike Crane, both Republicans, came within a hair of each other, both garnering 26 percent of the vote. Of the 57,099 votes cast, Crane eked out just 66 more votes than Ferguson, with 15,343; Ferguson garnered 15,277 votes, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
In the Democratic race, Angela Pendley beat Tamarkus Cook with 50.15 percent of the vote, or 6,398.
Ferguson and Crane will face off in a runoff election July 26. Anyone can vote in the runoff election, regardless of whether the voter cast a ballot in Tuesday’s election, according to Tiffany Pruitt of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
Ferguson, a dentist by trade, gathered with his supporters at his campaign headquarters on 7th Street in downtown West Point on Tuesday as election results came in.
Around 11 p.m., as results were still returning from Fayette County, he gathered his supporters and thanked them for their work and enthusiasm.
“Those election totals are incredibly close,” he said. “We knew that it would be. … We’re going to get asked a lot of questions about why this happened. Folks are going to wonder what was really special about this campaign, coming from West Point, Georgia, with a mayor, a dentist and a city of about 3,800 people. How did we beat a two-term incumbent senator, and also a businessman sitting on a strong pile of cash?
“How did we do that?” he continued. “We did it because of a great campaign team, we worked really hard, and we had the support of all y’all and a lot of others. Here’s the truth: people love the story because it’s real. People throughout this nation, throughout this district are hurting. They feel the affects of Washington being in their lives at every single level. They feel the weight of it. They want to know how we’ve done it right here, how we’ve changed our community. It’s simple, we get government out of the way and let people live their lives.”
Ferguson encouraged his staff to “take the night off” and vowed to return to the campaign trail today.
Crane said in a written statement that his campaign was “very energized” with the strong results of Tuesday’s election.
“A first place finish confirms the people’s desire to send a proven conservative statesman to represent the 3rd District at the federal level,” he said. “Moving forward, the distinctions between our campaign for freedom and our opponent’s big government, big business central planning solutions will be abundantly clear to the voters and will help build strength for our team heading into the runoff.
“I commend all of my fellow candidates for their commitment and hard work in this race. I especially appreciate the quality of candidates that were offered to the people of the 3rd District. I look forward to reaching all the voters once again with our message of freedom, free markets and equal protection under the law.”
State Senate District 28
In the race to determine Crane’s successor as state senator for District 28 after he stepped down to pursue the congressional seat, Matt Brass is the apparent winner by landslide with 81.73 percent, a total 10,648 votes. His opponent, Hayden Marlowe, received 2,380 votes.
Both men, from Newnan, are Republicans. There were no Democratic candidates on the ballot, meaning Brass will go into the general election uncontested.
Editor’s note: Story updated to add comments from candidate Mike Crane.
Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.