Republican challengers Tuesday defeated Democratic U.S. Reps. Jim Marshall and Sanford Bishop, both incumbents whose conservative records failed to save them from voters' wrath toward Washington.
Bishop of Columbus was ousted Republican Mike Keown after holding the 2nd District in southwest Georgia for 18 years. Marshall, a four-term congressman from Macon, fell to GOP candidate Austin Scott in middle Georgia's 8th District.
"He is a tough candidate and we beat him because we ran a better campaign," said Scott, a 40-year-old state lawmaker and insurance broker from Ashburn. "My team stayed focused on jobs and the economy. When he went into personal attacks, I think it hurt him."
Unofficial returns showed Scott with 52 percent of the vote late Tuesday, with 92 percent of precincts reporting. Marshall conceded the race and called Scott to congratulate him, said Doug Moore, Marshall's spokesman.
Bishop lost to Keown, a GOP state lawmaker and pastor from Coolidge, who had 53 percent of the vote with 82 percent of precincts reporting. Bishop spokesman Tim Turner said it was still too early for the congressman to give up.
"He's not going to concede until he's got the totals in," Turner said.
The rest of Georgia's incumbent congressmen kept their seats Tuesday.
Rep. John Barrow of Savannah, another Democrat counting on his record of bucking party leaders, defeated Republican Ray McKinney in eastern Georgia's 12th District.
With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Barrow had 56 percent of the vote. McKinney, a nuclear power project manager from Lyons, raised little money despite an endorsement from Sarah Palin.
Seeking a fifth term, Marshall, 62, stressed his vote against Obama's health-care overhaul and sought to distance himself from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying in the campaign's final weeks he wouldn't vote to keep her as speaker.
Scott, a 40-year-old insurance broker from Tifton, sought to undercut Marshall's support among conservatives reminding voters the Democrat supported $787 billion in stimulus spending and a $290 billion increase in the government's debt limit. He also argued that Marshall, despite his independence, was ineffective at blunting the Democrats' agenda.
Bishop, 63, spent much of his bid for a 10th term explaining why his office steered scholarships from the non-profit Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to family members and others connected to him and his wife. Keown, 56, said Bishop "violated the public trust" with the scholarship awards. Bishop said he did not know his family members had received the scholarships and returned the money when he found out.
In Georgia's only open House seat, Republican Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville won his race to succeed his old boss, retiring GOP Rep. John Linder, in metro Atlanta's 7th District. Woodall, Linder's former chief of staff, defeated Democrat Doug Heckman of Norcross.
Of the remaining nine House incumbents on the ballot, three Republicans — GOP Reps. Tom Graves of Ranger, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Tom Price of Roswell — drew no Democratic opposition.
Coasting to re-election was the rest of Georgia's House delegation: Republican Reps. Jack Kingston of Savannah, Lynn Westmoreland of Sharpsburg, Paul Broun of Athens and Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson of Lithonia and John Lewis and David Scott of Atlanta.