It was a snoozer in Georgia’s 54th state Senate district as Republican Chuck Payne handily defeated Independent Debby Peppers 65%-35%. As expected turnout was low in the runoff following November’s special election, with only 6,700 votes cast in total.
Democrats had hoped that they could steal the seat in the dark red Northwest Georgia district, but the GOP rallied around Payne, hosting fundraisers and firing up their grassroots machine to ensure the district remained Republican. $66,700 of the $90,100 raised by Payne over the election cycle came from current Republican legislators and PACs.
Charlie Bethel, who gave up the seat to join the Georgia Court of Appeals, had served the district since 2010.
Payne, a longtime party activist who is a former chairman of the Whitfield County Republican Party, is expected to join his new colleagues in the state Senate this week.