Check out more photos from the election parties last night.
Take a deep breath, everyone. After months of brutal races, myriad campaign promises, questionable remarks, and Internet fodder galore, the 2012 election season is finally over. President Barack Obama defeated former Gov. Mitt Romney to win a second and final four-year term in the Oval Office.
Last night, Thomas Wheatley and I scurried around the Republican and Democratic parties and kept tabs on the races worth watching. Now that the ballots have been counted and the dust has settled, here's how yesterday's key local races played out.
* The controversial charter school amendment passed by a much larger margin than expected going into Election Day. The ballot measure, which many opponents believed was misleading given its unclear wording, received more than 58 percent of the vote.
So what does this mean for charter schools moving forward? The amendment itself doesn't actually create a state-appointed commission — a group that would allow for charter schools to be created without local school board support — but it does allows for the Georgia General Assembly to create that entity. That will likely happen sometime during the next legislative session, which convenes in January.
* The second amendment, which allows for state agencies to enter into multiyear rental agreements for office space, also passed. If you're unfamiliar with this amendment (we don't blame you), Thomas Wheatley covered it in CL's election issue.
* Both incumbent Public Service Commissioners Chuck Eaton and Stan Wise were re-elected. CL hoped Wise would get the boot but withheld an endorsement in Eaton's race against Democrat Steve Oppenheimer and Libertarian Brad Ploeger.
* Congressmen Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, and John Lewis, D-Atlanta, unsurprisingly nabbed themselves another two-year term in office, blowing out their opponents in respective landslides. Likewise, Congressmen Tom Price, R-Alpharetta, and Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, claimed their districts once again by roughly a 2-to-1 margin.
* In what seemed to be the only competitive congressional race last night, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, held on against state Rep. Lee Anderson, R-Grovetown, to win another term as the 12th district representative.
* It looks like the GOP will just fall short in claiming a two-thirds supermajority under the Gold Dome. In the state House of Representatives, the Republicans now hold 119 seats — just one short of what they were aiming for. (Thank state Rep. Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville, the Capitol's only independent.) At the moment, they're in line to claim 37 Senate seats, and are expected to pick up no. 38 when a special election favoring a Republican candidate takes place this January. That 38th seat is crucial for the GOP, as it would give them a supermajority in the upper chamber.
And in other races:
* Hunter Hill, a security company executive and U.S. Army veteran, defeated state Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna, to represent the upper chamber's redrawn sixth district.
* Despite Chris Boedeker's deceptively edited attack ad, state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, won District 81 without much worry.
* Former House Speaker Glenn Richardson, who resigned his powerful post after his affair with a lobbyist was made public, failed in his attempt to become the 30th District's state Senator. He only managed to garner 14.8 percent of the vote in a four-way special Republican primary. State Rep. Bill Hembree, R-Winston, received the largest number of votes but failed to sway a majority of ballot casters. He will face Republican Mike Dugan, who earned the second-highest number of votes, in a runoff to fill the seat.
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