With three counties represented by District 22, including Cherokee, Forsyth and Fulton, a total of 6,253 ballots were counted as of press time in the state House election, with all votes in for Cherokee. One precinct in Fulton had not reported, but those results would not affect the outcome of the race.
Voters chose Cantrell, 52, of Woodstock, as their new representative for House District 22, over challenger Meagan Biello, 32, of Ball Ground, in the Tuesday election.
“It feels great, it’s such sense of relief,” Cantrell said after all the ballots were counted. “We worked hard.”
Cantrell said he and his supporters knocked on more than 6,000 doors and made nearly 20,000 phone calls as part of his campaign, and said getting to know voters was what helped him get elected.
“I think that’s what made the difference,” he said.
Cantrell took 3,265 votes in Cherokee County, or 67.53 percent, while Biello took 1,570 votes in Cherokee, or 32.47 percent.
Overall, by press time, results showed Cantrell garnered 4,292 votes districtwide, or 68.64 percent, while Biello took 1,961 votes, or 31.36 percent.
State Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia) was defeated in the May Republican primary election, after taking the least amount of votes between the three candidates.
Cantrell said he plans to learn a lot over the next few months, before taking his seat in the House.
“Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be spending time with many of the state representatives and state senators, trying to learn the ropes, talk to them about legislative ideas I have and how realistic some of these things are that I would like to see happen. And how we can build a coalition of folks to get some things done that I think are important,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell thanked everyone who went out to the polls to vote, and for all his supporters.
“It was just an amazing outpouring,” he said. “People just gave out of the goodness of their hearts because they wanted to see a legacy of leadership restored to our district, I believe.”
Biello said she appreciated all of her support.
“It didn’t go the way we hoped it would, but it’s been a wonderful experience for all of us,” Biello said. “I’m very thankful to my supporters.”
Biello said she hopes her supporters don’t view this as defeat, but rather “as a stepping stone.”
She wished Cantrell “the best of luck.”
“We know he’ll be a great representative, and we’re looking forward to seeing great things from District 22,” Biello said.
Out of 125,195 registered voters in Cherokee County, 19,808 people cast ballots in the May 22 primary runoff election, or about 15.82 percent, said interim Elections Supervisor Kim Stancil.
Stancil predicted a voter turnout of about 9 percent, and said she was “very pleasantly surprised” at the higher-than-predicted voter turnout.
The interim elections supervisor reported only minor problems at the polls. Stancil said an error made in a file used to identify absentee voters caused some delays on Election Day, but said “this didn’t affect anyone’s ability to vote.”
“It was discovered early this morning, right before the polls opened,” Stancil said. “We immediately instructed all of the poll managers how to correct the issue.”
Stancil said some voters who tried to vote were identified as having been absentee voters, when they shouldn’t have, and poll workers had to call the Elections Office to verify the voter’s status before allowing them to vote.
“There was nobody turned away,” Stancil added.
While some delays were seen at Hillside United Methodist, Stancil said by 11 a.m. Tuesday a list of registered voters was delivered to each polling location in the county to correct the error.