ATLANTA — Nathan Deal overcame questions about ethics and financial troubles to become the 82nd governor of Georgia on Tuesday night.Deal proclaimed victory before a raucous crowd of Republican supporters inside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Buckhead.”We’re going to make you proud,” Deal pledged minutes after announcing Democrat Roy Barnes conceded the race.
Deal, a nine-term former congressman from Gainesville, said, “We’re going to make this state great. We’re going to show the rest of the nation what Georgia can do, and what you have already heard we have a great slate of people who are going to be working with me.
“Deal received 53 percent of the vote, and Barnes received 43 percent.Election numbers showed a very strong night for Republicans across Georgia, and a virtual sweep of all constitutional offices.Barnes talked with Channel 2 Action News political reporter Lori Geary earlier in the night. “I’ve done everything I could have done. Tough year to be a Democrat,” Barnes said.Later Barnes told Democratic supporters, “I want to tell all of you how much I appreciate your help and support, not only in this campaign but also over the years.”Georgia voters also re-elected Johnny Isakson to the United States Senate to a second term. Isakson easily defeated Democrat Michael Thurmond.Another Republican, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, defeated Democrat state Rep. Georganna Sinkfield to win a full term as Georgia’s top elections official.
Kemp was appointed to office in January after Karen Handel stepped aside last year to focus on her bid for governor. In the attorney general’s race, Republican Sam Olens defeated Democrat Ken Hodges with 54 percent of the vote in the race, a fierce campaign with tough television ads and spirited debates that often focused on national issues.Turnout appeared brisk at many polling places. Channel 2 Action News received several reports of very long lines at the polls, even after they closed.