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Experience trumps newcomers in GOP Senate races

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two experienced state legislators appear to have soundly defeated their opposition in the Republican primary for state Senate.

In the race for Senate District 9, incumbent Sen. Don Balfour held a commanding lead Tuesday night against a former Snellville city councilman and a political newcomer.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Balfour had 65 percent of votes, according to preliminary results.

The Snellville resident credited door-to-door, volunteer campaigning with bolstering his win.

"I think (voters) pulled for experience and voted for me based on that experience," said Balfour, 53.

Senate District 9 includes parts of central, eastern and southern Gwinnett. Balfour praised the area's turnout, adding that more voters cast ballots for him Tuesday than voted in the 2006 election.

Balfour will face Democrat Rashid Malik in the Nov. 2 general election.

In the race for Senate District 40, Fran Millar's 12 years of experience in the Georgia House of Representatives appears to have won him favor against two political newcomers.

Millar captured 64 percent of the vote Tuesday night with 99 percent of precincts reporting, preliminary results showed.

Millar, 60, could not be reached late Tuesday, but had earlier told the Daily Post his history of bipartisan accomplishments would fare well in the primary.

Senate District 40 is located in DeKalb County but includes the Peachtree Corners area of Gwinnett.

The winner of the primary will face Norcross resident Eric Christ in November.