Vaughn, Bar­ton ready to con­tinue House cam­paigns

♦ They are in a runoff for the House District 5 seat for­merly held by the late Rep. John Mead­ows.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Spencer Lahr [email protected]­

The state House District 5 spe­cial elec­tion race was whit­tled down to two can­di­dates Tues­day, as Repub­li­cans Matt Bar­ton and Jesse Vaughn are now set to face off in a Feb. 5 runoff to de­cide who will fill the seat for­merly held by the late Rep. John Mead­ows.

Vaughn, a lo­cal at­tor­ney, was the top vote get­ter, fin­ish­ing with 33.72 per­cent of the 3,520 votes cast. Bar­ton, a self-em­ployed busi­ness­man who pre­vi­ously served on the Cal­houn Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and City Coun­cil, came in sec­ond with 23.15 per­cent.

Since nei­ther can­di­date se­cured the more than 50 per­cent of the vote re­quired to win out­right, the top two fin­ish­ers now head to a runoff.

Right be­hind Bar­ton for much of the night as elec­tion re­sults came in was Repub­li­can Scott Tid­well, who had 20.99 per­cent. Tid­well, who pas­tors Prayer Bap­tist Church in Chatsworth, was 76 votes be­hind Bar­ton’s count of 815. Tid­well jumped ahead of Bar­ton when the sin­gle Mur­ray County precinct re­sults came in, but Bar­ton climbed back ahead as Gor­don County precincts be­gan to re­port Elec­tion Day re­sults.

“It was like a roller coaster as the re­sults came in,” Bar­ton said Tues­day night.

Fin­ish­ing in fourth place was Larry Massey Jr., a former Gor­don County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion mem­ber, with 14.89 per­cent. He was fol­lowed by Demo­crat Brian Rosser with 4.63 per­cent and Repub­li­can Steve Cochran with 2.61 per­cent.

Both Bar­ton and Vaughn said on Tues­day night that with a six can­di­date field they knew a runoff was likely, and thanked vot­ers for push­ing them into the top two. And with four weeks be­fore their runoff date, they plan on con­tin­u­ing to press their mes­sages in the com­mu­nity and in­ter­act­ing with vot­ers.

“We’ll just keep on keep­ing on … and hope that’s what will put us on top in a cou­ple weeks,” said Vaughn.

“We’ll go back to the draw­ing board,” Bar­ton said, find­ing ways to im­prove his cam­paign while con­tin­u­ing what they did well.

Both can­di­dates en­cour­aged vot­ers to at­tend a fo­rum hosted by the Gor­don County Repub­li­can Party on Thurs­day night. The fo­rum will be a part of the reg­u­lar monthly GOP meet­ing at the Cal­houn De­pot, start­ing at 6 p.m.

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