Everson repeats in House

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Gwinnett challenged incumbent House member easily won Tuesday's election.

Melvin Everson, who became the first black Republican to win a contested election for state office last year, won his first full term on the General Assembly.

Tommy Benton, a retired Jefferson school teacher who represents part of Barrow County, won a second term in the House.

But a race between incumbent Republican Robert Mumford and Democratic challenger George Wilson was too close to call at press time early Wednesday.

Absentee votes counts were delayed in Gwinnett by a power outage.

Vote totals are unofficial until certified by the Secretary of State.

House District 106

In the Snellville-based District 106, Everson took nearly two-thirds of the votes - 7,008 to Democrat Tony Lentini's 3,765.

"The voters looked at the good job I'd done in my short time at the Capitol," Everson said.

A former Snellville City Councilman, Everson made history last year, when he won a special election to replace Phyllis Miller, who resigned to become a juvenile court judge.

Lentini said he wasn't pleased with Everson's decisions over the past year, including party-line votes on education.

"From being an unknown a few months ago, I thought we did pretty well," Lentini said. "A lot of people learned who I was."

Everson said he wants to focus on transportation in the next term of the General Assembly.

House District 95

In District 95, which includes southern Gwinnett and portions of Henry and Rockdale counties, Wilson held a slim margin over Mumford with 84 percent of precincts reporting.

The Stone Mountain Democrat had 7,004 votes to Mumford's 6,864.

"I think it's very close and we're going to have to wait and see," Mumford said.

The former Rockdale County district attorney wants to continue work on crime initiatives and transportation.

Wilson has pledged to continue working the campaign trail after Election Day. He went door-to-door to try to reinvigorate the Democratic party in southern Gwinnett.

Wilson wasn't available for comment early Wednesday.

House District 31

Tommy Stephenson came well-short of making a political comeback in Tuesday's election.

He only garnered votes 2,253 to incumbent Benton's 7,242 with 88 percent of precincts reporting in District 31, which includes parts of Jackson, Hall and Barrow counties.

"I felt like I voted like the district would want me to vote," Benton said. "I guess they thought I did a good job."

The Republican said he wanted to continue work on legislation to prevent identity theft.

"We've done a lot for businesses. I think I'd like to see us do more for consumers," he said.

Stephenson was elected at the age of 25 for his first of three terms as mayor of Commerce. He quickly rose to a position of prominence as majority whip in his second term in the General Assembly, but left the post for an unsuccessful run against John Linder for Congress.

Stephenson said he wanted to try to get back into politics because he's heard all the rhetoric from Republicans during their rise in power, but he hasn't seen the results.

But he wasn't active on the campaign trail.

Stephenson did not return phone calls Tuesday.