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Hinson tops Lewis
12.05 runoff 2
Scott Hinson, left, and Scott Lewis, right, await the results of their race for the chief magistrate position. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis discusses his loss in the runoff to Scott Hinson.

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With a handshake and a hug, the race for chief magistrate came to a congenial end Tuesday night.

Scott Lewis congratulated Scott Hinson on his victory, after the local businessman topped the Effingham County sheriff’s deputy, garnering 58 percent of the vote in the runoff.

“I’m unsure that my excitement at this moment is because of the results or just because the election is finally over,” Hinson said Tuesday night. “Many have worked hard on my behalf and I am grateful to each and every one of them. God has given me direction. Now I will give back to Effingham County with everything that is within me.”

Hinson and Lewis were the top two in polling in the November general election in a four-man race to replace the retiring Preston Exley. Hinson had 6,547 votes and Lewis had 5,389 votes.

“It was a good, clean race,” Lewis said. “It was actually a lot of fun. I appreciate the support I had.”

Hinson returned the kind words to Lewis, who will return to his full-time position with the sheriff’s department.

 “It has been a long five months,” he said, “and I am grateful to my opponent, Scott Lewis, for his part in making this election a pleasurable experience. It was an honor to run against a man of such admirable character. I will always hold him in very high regard.”

Lewis said the county will be fine with Hinson as chief magistrate and acknowledged the deficit he had to make up with Hinson’s showing in the general election.

“It was a challenge, especially because Scott ran real good and I was behind the ball,” he said. “But it was worth it. It was a learning experience.”

Midway through the runoff campaign, Lewis had his mind on the job he would have left behind, had he won the election.

“I love it at the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I started thinking about how much I’m going to miss that.”