Ferguson wins GOP runoff
WEST POINT — A small-town mayor scored an unlikely victory Tuesday in the race to become the Republican nominee for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District.
Former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson, a dentist by trade, beat state Sen. Mike Crane of Newnan with a nearly 8-point lead. He garnered 22,813 votes, compared to Crane’s 19,490, and will face Democrat Angela Pendley of Grantville in the Nov. 8 general election. Incumbent Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a Newnan Republican, is not seeking re-election.
At a jubilant election-watch party in West Point, Ferguson — flanked by Westmoreland — thanked supporters.
“To think that we came from really the smallest part of the district, with the least resources, and the least name recognition, to get to this point says an awful lot about about y’all,” Ferguson told the crowd. “It says a lot about the supporters, the volunteers and the work that was done.”
Ferguson also set his eye on November.
“We’ve got work to do between now and November, we’ve got work to do in the Congressional race,” he said. “We feel good about our chances, and we’re going to work hard. We have a big hurdle ahead of us in the general election.”
Westmoreland also addressed the crowd, telling them Ferguson was “going to do a job that’s going to make you very, very proud.”
The congressman also made a slight jab at Ferguson’s opponent, Crane, who had accused Ferguson of being too cozy with big businesses, including Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia.
“As I was coming down (Interstate) 85, I looked to the right and saw Kia, and I saw all those cars in that lot, and I thought to myself, ‘Would those folks in there, making those cars, call this corporate welfare?’” he said. “No, they would call that economic development. I know that Drew is going to carry that on — what we’ve tried to do, and that’s bring jobs to Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, because it is a great place for people to live, work and to play.”
The comment drew a strong applause from Ferguson’s supporters.
Meanwhile in Newnan, Crane gathered with supporters at Orchard’s Hill Church on Gordon Road. In a concession speech to supporters, Crane hinted at a future run for office.
“God’s got bigger things for us. The next race won’t be in November. We just don’t know when it will be, do we?” Crane said. “Georgia could use a new governor, couldn’t they?” Crane said with a laugh, to loud applause.
Crane asked if state Sen. Josh McKoon, a Columbus Republican and Crane supporter, was still in the room.
“That’s who I was thinking about,” Crane said. “All right, I’m just teasing.”
Crane said he was heavy hearted, but in the future, “We’re going to win. It may not be me, it may be somebody else in this room. But we’re going to win because we’re an idea, an idea that comes directly from the heart of God. He set us in the garden, and he set us free and he said choose.”
— Newnan Times-Herald reporter Sarah Faye contributed to this article as part of a reporting collaboration between the Times-Herald and the Daily News.