Just hours after his resounding victory in the Republican runoff for the U.S. House 12th District nomination, Ray McKinney was back on the trail.
McKinney, an Effingham County native, won the nomination handily over Thunderbolt fire chief Carl Smith with more than 62 percent of the approximately 22,900 votes cast. McKinney will face incumbent John Barrow (D-Savannah) in the November general election.
“I found out that the battery on my phone does not last very long when you’re constantly on the phone and my voice mail will only hold 40 messages before it won’t take anymore,” McKinney said.
He held a staff meeting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, just hours after the conclusion of his Tuesday night victory party in Port Wentworth
“We hit the ground running the next day,” McKinney said.
And with 81 days until the general election, McKinney doesn’t believe there is time to waste.
“We can’t sit back,” he said. “We have to take the energy we have now and grow it, get the message out that we’re the campaign that’s going to cut taxes, cut spending, create jobs, protect liberty and we have to do that every single day from now until November.”
His margin of victory told him that his message rang true with voters in the 12th District. He had 14,248 votes and outpolled Smith in 20 of 22 counties, including Smith’s home county of Chatham.
“What we did was we offered private market solutions and private market experience,” said McKinney, a nuclear energy project manager who now lives in Lyons. “We thought that’s what people wanted, to put in someone who has had real-world experience and understands how legislation affects businesses. Apparently, it worked.”
The runoff tally was nearly 80 percent of that in the July 20 primary, and McKinney was heartened by the turnout and retention rate. It was also more voters than who took part in the 2008 primary (16,686).
He also paid tribute to his staff for their toil and long hours of work. His victory, in terms of percentage points, was the largest of any of the runoffs across the state, he said.
“It was a victory we had hoped for,” McKinney said. “We couldn’t have done this without the team we had. Everybody was working until two or three in the morning. We did this with a very small, dedicated group of people. I have to thank the staff, I have to thank the team and I have to thank the voters who came back out and voted in amazing numbers.”