Incumbent Skye Gess defeated challenger Hoganne Harrison Walton Tuesday in the hotly-contested race for Baldwin County solicitor general.
Gess garnered a total of 9,525 votes, while Walton, who was born and raised in Milledgeville, received a total of 8,203 votes, according to unofficial election results as released by local officials Tuesday night.
The race between the two first-time political candidates turned out to be a tight one.
Gess, a republican, moved to Baldwin County from neighboring Hancock County after she was appointed by former Ga. Gov. Nathan Deal to serve out the remaining unexpired term of Maxine Blackwell, who died unexpectedly 2 1/2 years ago.
Reached for comment after the election Tuesday night, Gess told The Union-Recorder that she was pleased she won.
“It feels wonderful,” Gess said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”
Asked what she attributed to her victory, Gess said she works with some of the most amazing people, and that her victory was a 100 percent team effort.
“The people that I work with every day in my office really worked hard and went to bat for me,” Gess said. “That’s why I say they are my office family.”
Gess said the campaign boiled down to the fact that she and her team of supporters hit the ground running.
“I deeply appreciate the support that everyone has given us,” Gess said. “It has truly been tremendous.”
She said she met many nice people during the campaign.
“I am so blessed and thankful for everyone who supported me and voted for me during the election,” Gess said.
Asked what she thought the difference was between and her opponent in the race, Gess said in the end that she thought it went down to one word — experience.
“I’m a career prosecutor,” Gess said. “I’ve been a prosecutor for seven years and I know this county. I truly believe it was my experience as a prosecutor that helped me win this election.”
Attempts to reach Walton by phone were unsuccessful Tuesday night.
Walton came to the Baldwin County Registrar’s Office at the new county government complex earlier in the evening but left before final results were tabulated and released publicly.
Gess campaigned on the fact that she has done the job as solicitor general for the past 2 1/2 years, which made her qualified, tested and trusted.
She also campaigned on making public safety her top priority. She promised to keep politics out of state court and the prosecution of misdemeanor cases within that court.
Walton focused her campaign on telling voters they should not let politicians in Atlanta choose the solicitor general in Baldwin County.
Walton also pledged to pursue accountable justice, efficient justice and restorative justice, as well as being supportive of victims’ rights.