Oconee County voters overwhelmingly picked James Chafin in Tuesday’s runoff election for District Attorney of the Western Judicial Circuit, but their votes were offset by votes in Clarke County, and Deborah Gonzalez won with 51.7 percent of the final vote.
Turnout was higher in Oconee County, with 30.5 percent of the county’s 30,071 voters casting a ballot compared with 22.0 percent of Clarke County’s 76,779 voters.
Chafin, who ran without a party label, got 76.1 percent of the vote in Oconee County, but he got only 33.3 percent of the vote in Clarke County.
Gonzalez, who ran as a Democrat, got only 23.9 percent of the vote in Oconee County, but she got 66.7 percent of the vote in Clarke County.
With Oconee County voters contributing 35.2 percent of the total vote and Clarke contributing 64.8 percent of the vote, Gonzalez won by 866 votes.
The runoff resulted when neither Chafen, Gonzalez nor Brian Patterson, also running as a Democrat, got more than 50 percent of the vote in the special election on Nov. 3.
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In that race, Gonzalez got 48.4 percent of the vote, but she got 60.1 percent of the vote in Clarke County and only 24.4 percent of the vote in Oconee County.
That pattern repeated itself on Tuesday night, with Chafin’s lack of a party label helping him in heavily Republican Oconee County and hurting him in heavily Democratic Clarke County.
Chafin won election day voting across the two counties, with 52.9 percent of the vote.
Gonzalez won absentee balloting, with 74.1 percent of the vote, and she won advanced in person voting, with 53.7 percent of the vote.
Overall, 56.5 percent of the votes were cast in person on election day, with 57.5 percent of Oconee County voters who cast a ballot in the election going to the polls on Tuesday and 56.0 percent of the Clarke County voters who cast a ballot doing so at the polls on Tuesday.