Jacksonville Daily Progress
Despite the huge margin of victory, the race that led to Cherokee County District Attorney candidate Rachel Patton's Tuesday night victory against veteran opponent Elmer Beckworth was a real nail biter for many. Even Patton admitted to being glued to the county webpage to scrutinize results for much of the evening.
"I was extremely optimistic when early voting came in but I knew it wasn't over until it was over," she said.
By the end of the evening, it was, indeed, over. Patton won the position of Cherokee County District Attorney by nearly 60 percent to Beckworth's 40 percent. These results will remain unofficial until they are officially canvassed later this month.
Reached after the election, Beckworth attributed his opponent's victory to voters voting straight GOP.
"The straight Republican vote made the difference," he said. "But I want to thank the law enforcement officials and the people I worked with in the Republican party for all their help while I was in office. I really appreciate them."
Beckworth declined to speculate if he would run for office again next term or what his immediate job plans would be.
“No comment,” Beckworth said.
GOP Party Club Chairman Jerry Rix could not be reached to comment Tuesday night, but Caesar Roy, Democratic Party Club Chairman, agreed with Beckworth that straight GOP voters were responsible for Patton's victory.
"As you know, this is heavy Republican country and I suspect a large number of the Republicans voted straight ticket," he said. "Unless he had gotten crossover voters, Mr. Beckworth could not have won the election. I think the county will suffer as a result of his loss."
Patton believes differently.
"My opponent had been there for so many years and it was time for fresh ideas and leadership," she said. "I think that the support from the law enforcement community was extremely helpful and I would like to thank every police officer I have worked with for their support of the work I do."
Patton said word of mouth about her from people who have served on juries, or talked to friends or relatives or church members made the difference in her election.
She intends to spend the next few days picking up signs, writing thank you notes to supporters and ultimately contacting Beckworth to sit down with him and work up a case transition from his administration to hers.