Sanford Bishop wins close race - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sanford Bishop wins close race

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) – U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop is headed to Washington for another term. Early Wednesday morning he declared victory over Republican challenger Mike Keown in what was a long and nail-biting race as election results continued pouring in until 4 AM.

According to the Secretary of State's website Bishop is the winner. He beat Mike Keown by about 5,000 votes, a 51.4% to 48.6% lead. Those numbers were enough for Bishop to declare victory just after 1AM. But his victory came with some confusion early on. The Associated Press declared Keown the winner in the race around 11, a report they later retracted.

Hours before declaring his re-election victory, Congressman Sanford Bishop felt confident.

"Let's just say that I'm grateful to God that when the votes are all counted, it appears we'll be victorious," said Congressman Bishop.  His crowd of supporters at the Albany Civic Center showed their support with hugs and cheers for the 18-year incumbent.

And even when the Associated Press declared Keown the winner early on, they didn't concede. And Keown didn't declare victory.

"We had studied it all very carefully we knew where our base was and our strongest areas had not yet been accounted for," said Bishop.

He's referring to Dougherty and Muscogee counties, two places that reported election results later than most.

"When you have a night like tonight with Bishop being in such a critical mode trying to stay in this race, I knew it would be a long night," said Bishop supporter William Livingston.

Down the road at the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Keown stayed hopeful through the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

"I got into this as a step of faith. I trust the Lord with the results and I'm content with that," said Mike Keown.

"This is the first time in a long time Bishop has had this kind of competition," said a Keown supporter.

In the end though Bishop won the race by a small margin. And both Keown and Bishop supporters agreed it was an exciting fight for the finish line.

"I was surprised, I actually thought Bishop would win early on," said Bishop supporter Danielle Blackwell.

"Whoever wins or loses tonight, the voters are not going away, we're going to hold elected officials accountable and make sure our voices are heard," said Keown supporter Heather Abbott.

In Dougherty county Bishop won by a landslide. 67% of voters re-elected him. Keown campaign officials hinted that a recount may be demanded and that lawyers could be brought in the process. Sanford Bishop says his record spoke for itself in this election.


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