5 State House incumbents roll; another race very tight

Joyce Chandler

Joyce Chandler

LAWRENCEVILLE — Incumbents easily claimed victory in five Ga. House of Representatives races Tuesday, but a sixth contest was within just a few hundred votes.

Incumbents in Georgia House districts 81, 93, 95, 96 and 101 claimed comfortable wins according to unofficial vote tallies posted early Wednesday morning. In District 105, though, things were a little more interesting.

When the unofficial votes had been tallied, Republican candidate Joyce Chandler had brought in 9,821 votes. Democratic candidate Renita Hamilton had 9,661.

With less than 200 more votes than her opponent, Chandler tallied 50.4 precent of the vote.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Hamilton said referenced an old election adage.

“I think it’s important to always remember that every vote counts,” Hamilton said

Chandler, 72, is a retired educator and a small business owner. A grandmother of eight, Chandler has stressed the need for improved education.

"It seems impossible, in my opinion, to separate the need for strengthening education for all of Georgia's children and the need for strengthening our economic situation," she said.

District 81: Democratic incumbent Scott Holcomb claimed victory, with more than 56 percent of the vote with 95 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday.

Holcomb, who had grabbed 8,700 votes, will begin his second term as a state representative in January, representing the district that is primarily located in DeKalb County. Holcomb, 39, said he wants to tackle ethics reform and improve education.

"My top goal for our state is to improve education so we can retain the jobs we have today and compete for the jobs of the future," he said.

Republican challenger Chris Boedeker, an attorney, garnered 44 percent of the unofficial vote.

District 93: Democratic incumbent Dar'shun Kendrick, 30, dominated the race to maintain her seat, more than doubling challenger Tina Hoffer's unofficial vote tally.

WIth 95 percent of precincts reporting, Kendrick had 79 percent of the vote with a total of 16,090. Hoffer had just 4,287 votes.

Kendrick said her top goals for the state are jobs and economic growth. Kendrick is the second youngest member of the General Assembly.

District 95: Republican incumbent Tom Rice had taken 57 percent of the unofficial vote tally as of Wednesday morning.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, 11,052 ballots had been cast for Rice. Democratic challenger Brooke Siskin had 8,303.

Rice, 72, has been a member of the Georgia House of Representatives for 16 years.

District 96: Democratic incumber Pedro Marin bested challenger Mark Williams by bringing in about 56 percent of the votes.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, Marin had accumulated 5,202 votes, about 1,200 more than Williams. The unofficial tally would give the longtime state representative another term in office.

Marin has been a state rep since 2003.

"Strengthening our local economy has to be the priority for any state elected official representing Gwinnett County," Marin said.

District 101: Republican incumbent Valerie Clark took 55 percent of the vote to retain her seat as a state representative.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, Clark had taken 9,680 unofficial votes, as compared to Democratic challenger Timothy Swiney's 7,854.

Clark, whose husband is a Lawrenceville councilman, said she wants to continue to "promote free enterprise with less regulation and lower taxes." She touted consistency as one of her strengths.