Balfour Cascades to Win, Faces Drake in November General Election
In the end, Sen. Don Balfour could not be beat in the July 31 Republican primary election for his state Senate District 9 seat.
Before it was fought, the Republican race for state Senate District 9 was all but decided.
Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) outspent his challengers, sent more mailers to residents, and he was the incumbent -- one with the record of being the longest serving Republican in the state Senate.
So, despite his troubles with ethics inquiries this past year, Balfour won the Republican July 31 primary with 62.8 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
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His challengers came up short: Lilburn's Steve Ramey had 19.6 percent of the vote, and Travis Bowden of Snellville had 17.6 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
Ramey, who cast his ballot at Yellow River Baptist Church at 9 a.m., said he expected there to be more of a wave of anti-incumbency, given Balfour's recent history, but no. Despite his interest in serving the people of his area, the small business owner said he will likely not run for office again.
Ramey said he thanks his supporters, who helped him run a grassroots campaign with little money, "very much for their loyalty and support to me, and they should never give up their beliefs in this country and its values."
A member of the Tea Party, Ramey expressed frustration with the current political process. It's almost as if many voters do not care, he said.
"I think the public is uninformed," he said, reached by telephone Tuesday evening. "I think that most people go home, and they watch "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune" and "Entertainment Tonight" as their news source, and don't know the issues of the day."
Bowden, the youngest contender in the bunch at 30, gave a brief statement to Patch following the election results.
"We ran a great race, and I enjoyed having a chance to engage so many residents," he said. "Obviously, I want to thank all my supporters and all the folks who came out and voted."
Sure, he added, it's disappointing that he wasn't able to secure a win. However, Bowden said he's "looking forward" to staying involved with the community in the future.
Balfour will now face Democrat Scott Drake, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Although Balfour could not be reached for comment, Patch reached Drake at his home Tuesday evening. The attorney, who is from the Lawrenceville-Grayson area, said he looks forward to the challenge.
"We're going to concentrate on the issues that matter to the voters of the ninth district," Drake said. "I think those are ethics and education."
He added: "I think they need -- and they're certainly not getting now -- transparency and ethical conduct from their representative."
He plans, among other things, to hold various meet-and-greets and to reach voters by phone before the November 6 general primary.
With Balfour first elected to serve areas of Gwinnet County in 1992, Drake said "twenty years is long enough."
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