A hotly-contested race for District Attorney of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit ended Tuesday night with a decisive win for Brad Smith.
Smith garnered a total of 5,502 votes to Donna Sikes 4,218 votes.
In Jackson County, Smith got 2,295 votes, while Sikes received 2,186. In Barrow County, Smith received 2,717 votes, compared to Sikes with 1,395 votes. Banks County favored Sikes with 637 votes, compared to Smith with 490 votes.
Smith will replace Rick Bridgeman, who was appointed to the position by Gov. Sonny Perdue after the resignation of Tim Madison. Bridgeman finished third during July’s primary election and later endorsed Sikes. The election marks the first time in about 40 years that voters have chosen a District Attorney for the Piedmont Judicial Circuit.
Smith, who had finished in second place in the primary election, said he was pleased with Tuesday night’s results. The Hoschton resident talked about his initial plans for the District Attorney’s office while celebrating at the Chatterbox Café in Winder with family and supporters.
“I’m going to go in quietly, patiently and with an open mind and talk to people and listen and not make any swift changes,” Smith said. “I want to make sure everything is done right and we have a good footing and that we go forward and work on the progress that’s already been done.”
Sikes congratulated Smith from Mike’s Grill, Jefferson, where her family and supporters gathered.
“The voters had a chance to vote and they decided who they wanted,” she said. “And that’s fine – that’s what we all wanted, anyway.”
Sikes said she would return to what she’s been doing for the past 17 years — being an attorney.
“We raised some issues about the drug court, victims’ assistance and working for law enforcement, which I hope will improve the DA’s office in the future,” she said.
Smith also addressed the controversial nature of the race in the weeks between the primary and runoff elections.
“I was very pleased with the campaign through the primary with Mr. Bridgeman,” he said. “I think Ms. Sikes was fine with the primary, but I was distressed how things turned in the runoff.”
Barrow County will welcome a new BOC chairman in January. Yearwood received 2,542 votes to Garrison’s 1,600 votes.
Yearwood won all of the precincts in Barrow County except Fire Station 5 (County Line).
Barrow County had 14 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the runoff election.