Special Election: District 71 state house seat goes to Stover
By JOHN A. WINTERS and SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
David Stover handily won the special election runoff Tuesday for the Georgia House District 71 seat with just over 60 percent of the vote.
With all 13 precincts reporting, Stover had 1,356 votes to 885 votes for Thomas Crymes. Stover won 10 of 11 precincts in Coweta County, and won one of two precincts in Fayette County.
“I just want to thank all the volunteers,” Stover said. “They were a great group. And I want to thank all my supporters, and everyone that took the time to vote.”
Besides volunteer groundwork, Stover attributed part of his success to “keeping it positive.”
“We didn’t have any negative materials,” he said. “I stayed on message.”
For Stover, that message focuses on eliminating the income tax and going to the Fair Tax, or consumption tax; no more restrictions on gun rights; and nullifying Obamacare at the state level.
On local issues, Stover said it was up to the voters and Coweta County Commissioners to tell him what they needed.
“It’s not my job to dictate what I want the commissioners to do or what they need,” he said. “That’s their job; and my job is to be the voice of the voters and commissioners at the state capital.”
In Coweta County, Stover only lost the Turin precinct, and only by three votes. He won one precinct in Fayette County by one vote, and lost the other precinct by 15 votes.
His biggest precincts were Thomas Crossroads (246 to 93); Canongate (159 to 88); Madras (144 to 75); and Sharpsburg (135 to 87).
Despite going in halfway through the legislative session, Stover said “I feel ready.”
“I’ve read as many of the bills as possible and stay up on the proceedings,” he said.
“I appreciate everyone’s support and want the voters to know I am always available,” Stover added.
It was not known Tuesday night when Stover will be able to take his oath and get to work. Election results must still be certified by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
Crymes was watching election returns with friends at the Canongate clubhouse. Shortly after 8 p.m., several precinct totals were posted at once, and a collective sigh went up among the crowd as it was clear Crymes had little chance of winning.
“It’s been a humbling experience and I’ve had a lot of great people help me out,” Crymes said. “I’m disappointed in the results,” he said, but he added “I wish Mr. Stover well. I wish the area well, I hope he does a good job for them.”
Running for state house has “been quite an education. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Crymes said. “I met some great people. I’m glad I chose to run. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m sorry I didn’t win,” he said, but “I have really met some super people. Knocking on random doors, I met some great people. They just didn’t all show up” to vote.
Crymes was asked if he has any plans of running for office again. “Maybe in the future,” he said, but “not anytime soon.”
Crymes expressed his appreciation for his supporters and all their help. “We couldn’t have done it without you,” he said.
“I’m proud of the race we ran, and truly humbled by the support we were able to earn along the way,” Crymes said. “While I won’t be making the trip to Atlanta this year, I will work to continue serving my friends and neighbors as best I can.”