Marty Harbin is Fayette’s next state senator
Harbin overpowers David Studdard by 2,894 votes out of over 15,000 cast
First-time office-seeker Marty Harbin of Tyrone has won the open District 16 state Senate seat now held by Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) by defeating Fayetteville attorney David Studdard by nearly 20 points in the July 22 Republican Primary Runoff election across Fayette, Spalding, Pike and Lamar counties.
In a live interview election night on WKEU in Griffin, Harbin said his initial legislative focus will be on replacing the state income tax with some form of consumption tax and on making the state more welcoming to small businesses.
With no Democrat opponent in the November general election, Harbin will become the District 16 state senator in January. Both the Senate and House remain firmly in Republican control. Chance chose not to seek reelection.
An early supporter of the Tea Party in Fayette, Harbin said he was “running for one reason, and one reason only: To preserve the liberty that our nation was founded on for my children and grandchildren.”
Harbin campaigned as a pro-life candidate, strongly supported the Second and Tenth amendments, pushed elimination of both the state income tax and property tax, and said, “Educational decisions should be made by parents at the local level, not by bureaucrats in Washington.”
The race was marked in Fayette — the largest pool of votes in the district — by dueling robocalls in the final week before the election. One commenter on TheCitizen.com reported receiving up to a dozen automated candidate calls in one day from various candidates in the runoff.
Harbin, owner of an insurance agency in Fayetteville, never trailed in the race. He outpolled six GOP candidates — including five from Fayette — in the May 20 primary and clinched the win Tuesday night by leading from the initial precinct reports until the final count before 9 p.m.
Studdard lost in all four counties of the district. In Fayette, 24 of the county’s 36 precincts are in District 16.
Harbin beat Studdard in Fayette, Spalding, Lamar and Pike counties 8,957 (59.6%) to 6,063 (40.3%).
Here are the numbers by county:
Fayette — Harbin 5,127; Studdard 3,017
Spalding — Harbin 2,241; Studdard 1,965
Lamar — Harbin 742; Studdard 422
Pike — Harbin 847; Studdard 659.
Across the four counties, 15,020 voters cast ballots for the state Senate District 16 race.