Coker wins DA runoff, Ferguson beats Crane for Congress


Fayette County overwhelmingly voted for Mike Crane to be the next 3rd District congressman and Rudjard Hayes to be the next district attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit in the Republican primary runoff July 26.

The problem for the two candidates was that the other counties involved in those races voted overwhelmingly for their opponents.

The result: West Point dentist and former mayor Drew Ferguson beat Coweta state Senator Crane across the district 54 percent to 46 percent.

While Fayette chose Tyrone resident Hayes for DA, the other three counties turned out heavily for current Assistant DA Ben Coker, a Thomaston resident, who crushed Hayes for the open seat of district attorney.

With 97% of the precincts counted by 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Ferguson had 22,354 votes, while Crane had 19,115, a difference of 3,239 votes.

Ferguson will face a Democrat in the November general election but the district is one of the most Republican in the state, and the former West Point mayor is expected to be the next congressman, replacing Lynn Westmoreland.

GOP District Attorney nominee Ben Coker of Thomaston. File photo.Across the 4-county Griffin Circuit, Coker polled 62% of the vote (8,916) while Hayes gathered 38% (5,459 votes). Hayes was crushed in Coker’s home county of Upson 2,581 votes to 114 votes. It was almost as bad in Pike, where Coker beat the Fayette resident 1,277 to 234. In Spalding it was Coker 3,368 to 1,761 for Hayes.

In other races decided Tuesday, the oldest serving legislator in Georgia, Republican John Yates of Griffin, District 73 state representative, lost his reelection bid to Griffin chiropractor Karen Mathiak 56% to 44%. Yates had served in the Georgia House for two decades. A World War II artillery reconnaisance pilot during the Battle of the Bulge, Yates is one of only two remaining WWII veterans still serving in state legislatures in the U.S. District 73 covers Brooks and a part of south Fayette County.

In a Democrat primary runoff for a House seat partly in north Fayette, Debra Bazemore was in a tight lead over Linda Pritchett 51% (1,027 votes) to 49% (971 votes) for the District 63 Democrat nomination.