Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Republican candidate Jace Brooks, left, looks over the shoulder of his wife Kirste as they look at results coming in for District 1 Board of Commissioners race with Steve Edwards, Kevin Hill and James Gleghorn at the Hampton Inn in Lawrenceville on Tuesday.
SUWANEE -- After a closer-than-expected win on Tuesday, Jace Brooks becomes the first Suwanee resident on the Gwinnett County Board of Commission since Wayne Hill in 2004.
Brooks, a former 10-year Suwanee City Councilman, defeated Duluth resident Laurie McClain in the District 1 race on Tuesday after he collected 54 percent of the vote. Brooks totaled 6,598 votes, while McClain had 5,614. While attempts to reach Brooks after the election were unsuccessful, he said late Tuesday night that the preliminary results were closer than he expected.
In defeat, McClain was upbeat.
"I feel as great as if we had won," McClain said. "Because we won on our level."
Brooks is expected to qualify to serve out the remaining time on the term vacated when Shirley Lasseter resigned in May after she pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges. No opponent has announced a candidacy to face Brooks in a potential special election.
Qualifying for the Nov. 6 election would be from 9 a.m. on Aug. 22 to noon on Aug. 24.
A special election is required because Lasseter's resignation occurred more than 180 days from when the term expired.
Brooks' campaign raised about three times the money that McClain's did, and he collected endorsements from the mayors of Suwanee, Duluth and Sugar Hill.
McClain said she was very proud of what her campaign accomplished, especially because she hadn't been a part of a political campaign before, much less the center of it. While McClain said the turnout was a testament to how hard supporters worked on the campaign, she declined to explain why she thought the final results were that close.
McClain reiterated that trust in the BOC had been violated, but it remained important to the people of the district.
And she added it won't be something Brooks restores quickly.
"You can't prove trustworthiness on Day 1," she said.
As for her political future, McClain said she had not given it any thought immediately after election day.
"I'm just trying to get my laundry caught up," she said.
In other election news, Suwanee voters will participate in county-wide runoffs of two judge races. Kathy Schrader and Tracey Mason Blasi were the top two finishers in a Superior Court race, and will meet again on Aug. 21. In a State Court runoff, attorneys Emily Brantley and Pam Britt will meet in a run-off.