Linda McDaniel 12,349 63.26
Lisa Wright (I) 7,165 36.7
Well-wishers from across the state had been calling Linda McDaniel throughout Tuesday night to get an update on her race.
Eventually, she began to point them in the direction of Web sites where the results were being posted. She watched nervously as the advanced and early voting results finally scrolled by on a screen in the Effingham Board of Education auditorium, but those numbers confirmed her victory in the Effingham tax commissioner’s race.
“It was a relief,” she said. “I am very excited. I just so much appreciate their trust in me to vote for me.”
McDaniel, the Republican challenger, had 12,349 votes to incumbent Lisa Wright’s 7,165. She held an 8,216-4,520 edge in voting done Tuesday, but there were still more than 6,000 early and advanced votes to be counted. McDaniel got more than 60 percent — 3,669 — of the 6,053 early ballots cast in the tax commissioner race.
“Once they posted, I was relieved,” she said.
McDaniel campaigned on the need for change in the office, particularly in the area of customer service. She won all but two precincts on Tuesday and had at least 60 percent of the votes in 17 of them.
“The biggest thing is they want to see change,” she said of the voters. “They want to see a friendly face. They want to see people who are willing to help them, that they don’t feel like it’s a burden to be waited on.”
McDaniel will relinquish her position as assistant director of the Effingham Chamber of Commerce but assured Chamber President Michael Lee she will work with him on the major projects under way, including the Effingham Day at the Capitol.
Also a member of the state Department of Family and Children Services board, McDaniel heard from fellow board members in Athens and Clayton throughout the night and from her brother in Pennsylvania, all wanting updates on the numbers.
She was glad to get the campaign and the election behind her, calling the process “grueling.”
“It has been very demanding,” McDaniel said. “Every waking minute, it’s on your mind. It’s been very difficult. This has been an eye-opening experience.
“I have great appreciation for people who put their lives on hold to run for public office. I never dreamed it was as demanding as it is.”