Turnouts for runoffs often are low. Many times, the number of voters who care to cast their ballots for a second go-round in an election can be measured in the single percentage digits.
But voters in Thomas County and Grady County went back to the polls, either this past Tuesday or through early voting or by absentee ballot, and came back in force.
In Grady County, 61.9% of the county’s 15,083 registered voters — 9,336 in all — voted in the runoff. In Thomas County, 62.5% of 30,839 registered voters — a total of 19,276 — cast ballots.
While there was a drop-off in turnout from November’s general election — more than 77% of registered voters in Thomas County voted then and a shade under 70% in Grady — the numbers are still better than for most any other election.
Voters in Thomas and Grady counties favored incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the U.S. Senate races and incumbent Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonald in the state Public Service Commission runoff by substantial margins. The three won close to 60% of the Thomas County votes and nearly two-thirds of the Grady County ballots.
McDonald has a 1% lead statewide on challenger Daniel Blackman, while Loeffler already has conceded her race to the Rev. Raphael Warnock. Democrat Jon Ossoff, who as of Friday morning has a .98% advantage on Perdue, has claimed victory.
All four Senate candidates made stops in southwest Georgia, either during the general election or in the campaigning for the runoff. So, at the very least, they are now familiar with the area.
We hope our elected representatives remember that there are plenty of people and issues south of the Gnat Line and far removed from the larger urban and suburban areas up north where the bulk of the state’s voters reside.