Brown clinched an early lead in the Tuesday special general election for the seat and never looked back, winning with 55.5 percent of the vote. Democratic candidate Ricky Whaley received approximately 42 percent of the vote while independent candidate Carol Hagan received about 2 percent.
Of the total 6,164 votes cast, Brown received 3,422, Whaley received 2,575 and Hagan received 156.
Brown said he was very pleased with the high number of votes he received.
“I’m humbled by the percentage,” Brown said. “We’ve worked hard … a long three months. We had people give and give of their time.”
Calhoun County Republican Party Chairman Gene Howard said he was not surprised at Brown’s success.
“The polls were consistent that a Republican had a consistent lead,” Howard said. “We’re not surprised he had a lead. We congratulate all those people who stood by their conservative convictions.”
Hagan said she was surprised she did not do better.
“I thought the ones who signed my petition to get on the ballot would vote for me,” Hagan said. “I guess they thought they’d throw their vote away if they voted for an independent.”
Repeated attempts to reach Whaley for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Like Brown, Calhoun County Probate Judge Alice Martin was impressed at the turnout for the general election, noting nearly three times as many people voted Tuesday as they did in the January special Republican primary.
“It was more than I expected,” Martin said.
Brown won the seat vacated by Rep. Lea Fite when he died of a heart attack in October. Brown will serve the remainder of Fite’s term, which ends in November.
In addition to Brown, Whaley and Hagan, four other Republicans initially vied for the seat. The Republican primary ended in a runoff between Brown and Jay Dill of Jacksonville. However, a week after the primary, Dill dropped out of the race and placed his support with Brown.
Brown said Dill’s support helped him win Tuesday’s election.
“I don’t think it hurt me a bit,” he said. “He’s been working really hard. It just shows what a class guy he is.”
The campaign stayed relatively clean until the final weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election, when attack ads began appearing against Whaley and Brown.
Brown said the nature of the campaign did not surprise him.
“It was pretty much what I expected,” Brown said. “I tried not to take any comments personal.”
Brown, who has already filed to run for the seat again, confirmed Tuesday he would seek re-election. Whaley has also filed to run for the seat in November.
Hagan said she would not run for the seat again.
“I can’t afford to spend all my money running for office,” she said.
|K.L. Brown (R)||3,422||55.6%|
|Ricky Whaley (D)||2,575||41.9%|
|Carol Hagan (ind.)||156||2.5%|
|23 of 24 boxes reporting|