Blackmon, Walker face off for House seat Tuesday

Houston County voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose who will represent House District 146 under the Gold Dome in the next legislative session.

Republicans Larry Walker III and Shaw Blackmon are vying to fill the unexpired term of state Rep. Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, who resigned this year after representing the district since January 2001. House District 146 covers a piece of Houston County encompassing parts of Warner Robins, Bonaire, Kathleen and Perry.

About 2,201 voters already have cast their ballots in the runoff election, said Houston County’s registration and elections assistant Beverly Nable. Of that number, 1,000 voted on Central Georgia Technical College’s Warner Robins campus, and 1,201 voted at the board of elections, she said. Early voting ended Friday.

Walker, a 50-year-old insurance agency owner, said Monday afternoon he thought the race would be close.

“We’re campaigning hard as we can go today,” Walker said. “I feel good about the effort we’ve put into this. My family and friends have worked tirelessly on it for four months. I’m humbled by the support I’ve gotten out of the community, and I’m proud of the campaign we’ve run. But I think it’s going to be a real, real close result.”

Walker received 1,397 votes, or 35.3 percent, during July’s special election compared with Blackmon’s 1,735 votes, or 43.8 percent, according to unofficial results. Blackmon has been endorsed by O’Neal, former Gov. Sonny Perdue and now-eliminated candidate Kelly Burke, among others, Walker said.

“It’s not over until it’s over and we’re going to push to the end. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up,” Walker said. “I feel like David and Goliath. Bring it on. Me being David, not Goliath.”

Walker said he would join family, friends and supporters Tuesday evening at The Coffee Cup on Carroll Street in downtown Perry across from the board of elections.

Blackmon, president and CEO of National Bank Products, said Monday afternoon his campaign is going strong.

“I feel good,” said Blackmon, 42. “We’ve got a good, hard-working bunch that’s run a good, clean, positive campaign. We’ve knocked on doors, we’ve made phone calls, we’ve shaken hands, we’ve gone person-to-person and, you know, our message has been clear and consistent and (that’s) what’s important to the citizens of Houston County.”

Blackmon said he and his supporters would be watching election returns from the main dining room of Houston Lake Country Club.

The election is only open to voters living in House District 146. The following precinct locations will be open for voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Bonaire Middle School; Central Georgia Technical College’s Warner Robins Campus; Feagin Mill Middle School; Mossy Creek Middle School; Rozar Park; Ted Wright Memorial Park; and Veterans High School.

To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334.