Today is the last day for early/advance voting in the partisan primary runoff.
Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Races to be decided are as follows:
Secretary of State
Effingham County Board of Commissioners
Public Service Commissioner, District 2
Ray McKinney finished 2,030 votes shy of winning the Republican primary for the 12th District U.S. House seat outright. Now, he’s focusing on getting his voters — and then some — back to the polls for Tuesday’s runoff.
McKinney finished with 42.6 percent of the vote in the primary, while Thunderbolt fire chief Carl Smith captured 27.9 percent in the four-person field. His campaign is in full campaign gear, with mailers, volunteers making calls and radio ads set to air Saturday-Tuesday.
“We’re doing everything we can,” he said. “We’re reaching out every way we did before to get people to turn out.”
McKinney, who now lives in Lyons, was the leading vote-getter in 19 of the district’s 22 counties and finished 119 votes behind Smith in Chatham County. The turnout for the primary was up substantially from 2008, when McKinney finished second to John Stone.
Turnout for the 2010 GOP primary was 39 percent higher than it was in 2008. Meanwhile, the turnout in the Democratic primary was down by 43 percent from 2008. Plus, the GOP runoff for governor between Nathan Deal and Karen Handel could spur Republicans to head back to the polls Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of interest in these races right now. We expect a good turnout,” McKinney said.
McKinney is touting his years in the private sector in his campaign against Smith.
“One thing I offer is 30 years of private world experience,” he said. “What we’re trying to take to Washington are some of those common sense business practices that jobs are not created by big government, jobs are not created by more spending, jobs are not created by more regulations. Jobs are created by businesses, and that’s my background.
“I’ve been called the professional candidate. But I haven’t been running since the 1990s for political office,” McKinney continued. “I’ve been in a competitive environment where you had to be successful or you were out of business. It’s real world experience — I’ve got it. I respect what (Smith) does for a living. But when it comes to making decisions in impacting families, it’s something I’ve been doing for a long time.”
McKinney even got more votes in this year’s primary (11,209) than Stone did (9,462) in winning the primary outright in 2008. McKinney, who was the last entrant into the race, said he’s gotten calls from supporters of other candidates and from those who endorsed other candidates in the primary.
“We had four months to get our message out. Other candidates had 16 months to get their message,” he said. “We showed that we can get support in a few months.”
He also believes incumbent U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) is vulnerable. Barrow, who captured more than 76 percent of the votes in the 2008 Democratic primary, staved off challenger Regina Thomas by only 5,000 votes this time around.
“Our fundraising in the last week was actually very good,” McKinney said. “The money’s coming in. The support is there. A lot of people were skeptical of any candidate in a four-way race. They wanted to see who came out on top. We came out on top. It’s going to take work for both candidates, but I think we have a good chance at it.”