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I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. The runoff to replace Rep. Charlie Norwood (R., Ga.) is in a photo finish, with underdog Dr. Paul Broun (R) ahead of State Sen. Jim Whitehead (R) by 270 votes with 95 percent of the precincts in. The two Republicans (both very conservative) came in ahead of the only Democrat in the first round of the special election on June 19. Whitehead had been the overwhelming favorite coming into today. His funding and name recognition were far superior to those of Broun.   Whitehead had also finished far ahead of anyone else in the first round with 44 percent — he needed a majority to avoid a runoff. In the second round, the debate was less ideological than geographical — which is better, Augusta (home of Whitehead) or Athens (home of Broun).   This district is so conservative and so Republican that one can only smile at the debate coverage from last week:

At one point they disagreed over which of them had the most support from gun owners, with Whitehead denying Broun’s contention that he never owned a gun, adding that he had three shotguns. And Whitehead noted Broun had been endorsed by “the most liberal newspaper in the district,” referring to The Athens Banner-Herald … Whitehead said what he was most proud of during his tenure in the state Legislature was passage of a bill that protects the job of any druggist who refuses on moral grounds to fill a prescription for medications that induce abortions. For his part, Broun said he opposes G-rated movies allowing “hell” and even hesitated in saying the word, though he did note that Whitehead’s campaign manager was quoted as saying it…

Follow the results here.


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