State Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ashburn, won the Republican nomination for the 8th Congressional District of Georgia on Tuesday, besting two challengers and avoiding a runoff.
Scott will face U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, a four-term incumbent, in the general election.
Scott won a closer vote than many had expected, taking just more than 50 percent of the vote. Ken Deloach, a political novice, took about 30 percent of the vote. Dianne Vann finished a distant third.
“Ken Deloach and Dianne Vann were both out there shaking hands, talking with people each and every day and listening to their concerns,” Scott said. “They both ran very good campaigns. ... I’m looking forward to working with them.”
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Marshall spokesman Doug Moore issued a statement about 10:30 p.m. that dismissed Scott as a “career politician looking for his next job.”
“Ran for governor, found no takers. Ran for lieutenant governor, got run off, and was told to run for Congress,” Moore said. “He’s voted against taxing illegal immigrants, but he’s voted for, even proposed, multiple new tax increases on every Georgian.”
At the urging of a number of Republican party insiders, Scott abandoned a run for governor in favor of challenging Marshall. Avoiding a runoff remained an uncertainty until late in the evening due to late returns from Houston County.
“Buddy, isn’t it past your bedtime?” Scott kidded his young son around 10 p.m.
Scott is in his fourteenth year in the Georgia state Legislature, having been elected in 1997 at the age of 26.
Scott easily outpaced his two primary challengers in fundraising, raising about $200,000 for his primary campaign. He faces an uphill battle in matching Marshall’s coffers, however, which is stocked with about $1 million.
“This is a fresh race,” Scott said.