Former Bulloch County commissioner Jan Tankersley swept past opponent Tom McElwee Tuesday night, taking the Georgia House of Representative District 158 seat vacated when long-time representative Bob Lane announced his resignation earlier this year.
With 99 percent of the 14 precincts reporting, Tankersley overwhelmed McElwee in Bryan County by 592 to 280 votes, and in Bulloch County by 1,659 to 877 votes, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office website www.sos.georgia.gov/elections.
Surrounded by friends and family at Emma's Restaurant in the Holiday Inn as she awaited election results, Tankersley was overjoyed when she realized she had won.
"I am absolutely thrilled that the voters placed their confidence in me," she said Tuesday night. "I am so thankful for the people who turned out and voted. I am looking forward to continuing to be a public servant for this district."
But it's not about her, it's about the citizens, she said. "This seat does not belong to me. It's not my victory. This seat belongs to everyone in District 158."
She promised to be a "good communicator" while in office, and said she expected to maintain a solid contact with citizens through Facebook, web pages, and in person.
McElwee spent the evening Tuesday waiting on election results at a neighborhood party near his daughter's residence. Although final results were yet to be tabulated, he conceded the race to Tankersley with grace and best wishes to his opponent.
"She (Tankersley) did a great job," he said. "She ran a tremendous campaign and I wish her well as she goes to Atlanta. It's going to be exciting for her and I know she will help the folks in (District) 158."