Judge sets date for new election in north Georgia house race

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It is back to the polls for some voters in North Georgia.

Late Tuesday, a judge threw out the results of the Republican primary race for House District 28. Challenger Chris Erwin won by 67 votes over current state representative Dan Gasaway.

Specially appointed Judge David Sweat ruled there were too many ballot mistakes in the May Republican primary election.

“The results of the primary election must be set aside and a new election held,” Judge Sweat ruled.

Gasaway's attorney Jake Evans says it was the best decision for everyone involved.

“It is the right thing for both candidates, and the right thing for voters of HDS 28,” Evans said after the ruling.

The elections challenge followed on the heels of a hard-fought race for the Republican house seat in the North Georgia District 28.

After losing by 67 votes, Gasaway hired an expert who examined voting records and found that at least 70 voters in House district 28 and neighboring district 10 had the wrong ballots.

“I was shocked by how many it was,” Gasaway told us.

During the seven hours long hearing, the state Habersham County Elections Supervisor, Laurel Ellison, testified after Gasway complained about mistakes in his primary race, her staff found 70 people in House District 28 and a neighboring county were given the wrong ballots. More than the margin of victory in the race.

To back her up, Gasaway's voting expert, Mark Davis also testified. He told the judge that his sophisticated mapping software found the same ballot problems the county found.

“What the county determines in my view is spot on, they got it right,” said White.

Winning candidate Chris Erwin's attorney, Bryan Tyson, argued the two witnesses didn't use the correct census-based mapping system, but the Judge didn't buy it. 

“It's going to be necessary to conduct a new election in order for people to have confidence that the people who vote in the election were entitled to vote,” Judge Sweat stated.

With no Democrat in the race, the two Republican candidates, both alike in confidence, will go at it again.

Reporter: "You won the first time? Can you win a second time?"

Erwin: "Absolutely."

Reporter: "Will it be a tough race?"

Erwin: "Wasn't tough the first time."


Reporter:  "You lost by 67 votes the first time around, what are you going to do to make it different?"

Gasaway: "I can't tell you that, that's my campaign strategy. We're going to run a different campaign this time."

This morning Judge Sweat set the election date for December 4. No write-in candidates are eligible to run. And no one who voted in the Democratic primary back in May can vote. Since there is no democratic candidate, the winner of this new primary race with represent House district 28.

Chris Erwin has not decided whether he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.