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Davenport pulls off stunning victory, reclaims seat

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

After losing her bid for re-election in 2008 to current State Sen. Gail Buckner (D-Jonesboro), former District 44 Senator Gail Davenport pulled off a stunning win to reclaim the title of senator.

On Tuesday, Davenport defeated State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Ellenwood) and Dawn Randolph by significant margins in both Clayton and Henry Counties. In Clayton, Davenport won 60 percent of the vote, while in Henry, she took away 76 percent. Glanton, the current chairman of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation, took away 32 percent of the vote in Clayton and only 16 percent in Henry. Randolph carried 8 percent in Clayton, as well as 8 percent in Henry.

While Davenport said she was happy to be victorious, she said she was happier to be able to serve once again."I've had enough successes in life and failures in life to know how it feels to win and lose," she said. "I worked very hard in that [2008] campaign, and we just came up short a few votes. This time, we've worked hard and we've prevailed. I feel very good, since I grew up in Clayton, to be serving the citizens here.

"I ran on the issues ... creating job opportunities, education, transportation, crime prevention," she continued. "All of those things are important to the citizens of Clayton County. I felt that I could make a difference when I ran for Senate the first time, and I feel like I can make a difference this time."

Glanton, an ordained minister who vacated the House District 76 seat to run for the Senate, expressed disappointment, but was congratulatory to Davenport. While he did not know if he would seek another political office in the near future, he said he would work hard during the remainder of his term.

"Obviously it's a surprise ... but hat's off to her campaign for being able to run a campaign that was successful for her," he said. "I did everything I thought I could do, and I've worked hard for the people of Clayton County and the people of Clayton County have spoken. They have elected her to be the senator for the 44th District, and I respect that."

"I would say my plans right now are to get some well-deserved rest," he said. I've always been a servant ... Regardless of what I do, it's always an assignment from my God. I will sit back and listen to my God and get my next assignment."

In the race for Senate District 34, Valencia Seay was victorious over former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, and Travis Spruill, in the Democratic primary. With 52 percent of the vote in the district, Seay will go on to face Republican Zannie "Tiger" Billingslea in November.

Senate District 34 includes portions of both Clayton and Fayette Counties. While the race between Seay and Hill was hard-fought in Clayton -- Hill earning 43 percent and Seay earning 49 percent -- Seay proved to be stronger in Fayette, where she received 63 percent of the vote, compared to Hill's 26 percent. Spruill took 8 percent of the vote in Clayton and 11 percent in Fayette, according to the Secretary of State's web site.

In the races for State House seats, Incumbent District 74 State Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam was victorious against challenger Emory Wilkerson, earning another term. Abdul-Salaam earned 63 percent of the vote, while Wilkerson got 37 percent.

In the House District 75 race, Yasmin Neal and Henry "Shawn" James will compete in a runoff on Aug. 10. Neal earned 36 percent of the vote, while James took 38 percent. Kristy Dubuisson was knocked out of the running with 26 percent of the vote. The House District 75 seat has been vacated by State Rep. Ron Dodson (D-Lake City), who will not seek another term in office.

With 51 percent of the vote, former Clayton County School Board Member Sandra G. Scott -- who was removed from her school board seat by the Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2008 -- won her bid for House District 76. Scott defeated Carlotta Harrell and Thomas Pough, who took 30 percent and 19 percent of the vote, respectively.

With no democratic challengers, Incumbent District 77 State Rep. Darryl Jordan (D-Riverdale) will go on to face Republican challenger James Brown in the fall.

In the House District 78 race, Incumbent State Rep. Glenn Baker (D-Jonesboro) defended his seat against challenger Jackie Anderson-Woods. Baker garnered 56 percent of the vote, while Anderson-Woods took away 44 percent of the vote.