Mike Buck has decided he will pursue asking for a recount in his bid to become the Republican candidate in Georgia's state school superintendent race.
"I owe it to my supporters to at least request it and see how it shakes out," Buck said. "There is a very small percentage of total votes between first and second in this race."
The Secretary of State's office reported that Buck trailed longtime Irwin County educator Richard Woods by 727 votes with all 159 counties reporting.
Buck said he will have to wait until the state certifies the results of the election before he can formally ask for the recount, which would be allowable since the difference is within the one percent margin in which a candidate can request a recount.
The journey to find out who will be the Republican candidate for Georgia’s state school superintendent race stretched long into the night Tuesday and as of Wednesday morning there is no resolution.
The primary runoff between former Rome High School principal Mike Buck and longtime Irwin County educator Richard Woods weighed in Woods' favor by a margin of 727 votes. That number falls within the one percent margin in which a candidate can request a recount.
Buck, who is chief academic officer for the state Department of Education, won Floyd County by a margin of 3,092 to 1,010. (Click here to see Floyd County results.) (Click here to see statewide results.)
“We’re all anxiously awaiting the final numbers, but it appears we won’t know those until tomorrow,” Buck said Tuesday night from the law offices of Cox, Byington, Brumlow, and Twyman on Broad Street in Rome.
Around 30 supporters joined Buck as results came in and the tension remained high throughout the night.
“I want to thank everybody who voted for me,” Buck said. “When you have a low turnout, you never know what’s going to happen. We knew it would be close.”
About 12 percent of registered voters cast ballots statewide compared to roughly 19 percent in the May primary election.
Former Decatur School Board Chairwoman Valarie Wilson won the Democratic nomination, getting 54 percent of the vote against state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan.
Morgan got the majority in Floyd County by a total of 282 to 232.
The candidates will face off in November for the seat John Barge of Floyd County is vacating after an unsuccessful challenge to Gov. Nathan Deal in that Republican primary.
While the GOP school battle was a tight race from the start, Buck was up by some 1,100 votes at 9:30 p.m. with just over half of the 159 counties reporting.
But that lead narrowed and, by 10:30 p.m., the two candidates each had 50 percent with 127 counties reporting. Buck led by a mere 19 votes at the time.
“We’re proud of the support that we’ve had throughout this race,” Buck said. “All of us have worked extremely hard. We did everything the right way for the right reasons.”
Buck said that with such a small margin separating him from his opponent, a recount could be necessary, but no matter the outcome, he will continue to do what he can to help Georgia’s children better their education.
The Associate Press contributed to this report.