Fitzgerald-- July 20th, Bobby Chasteen came out 66 votes ahead of Chris Hughes in the race for a Cordele Circuit Superior Court Judgeship. That was a small enough margin for the losing candidate to request a recount.
The recount in the four counties that make up the Cordele Judicial Circuit began promptly at 10:00 a.m., but it wasn't without difficulties. The counting machine in Cordele had to be replaced, but observers kept a close eye on the events, "The campaigns go to each of the counties were there is a recount simply to observe the process," says Chasteen volunteer John Sammon.
In Ben Hill County, candidate Chris Hughes watched the proceedings as well, "I have heard from three out of the four counties so far and there has been a change of only one vote so we don't anticipate there to be a great change in this."
Hughes fell behind Bobby Chasteen by just a few dozen votes--enough to merit a recount, "We were only about six-tenths of one percent different. Sixty some odd votes out of over ten thousand."
Unfortunately for Hughes, the final count ended exactly the same--just a sixty-six vote difference--with Chasteen the victor, "We were both natives of Fitzgerald and that was unfortunate and we were friends and it is unfortunate you have to run against each other," says Chasteen.
Hughes says, "I was hoping it would be a little wider margin with either me or him winning. It is tough to lose when you are that close." A close race--but the outcome is clear.
Bobby Chasteen will succeed Judge Whitfield Forrester, who is retiring.