published Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Candidate for district attorney asks for recount after 42-vote loss

Staff Photo by Tim Barber
Assistant public defender Doug Woodruff waits for a verdict in the Sam Parker murder trial outside the Walker County Courthouse on Wednesday.
Staff Photo by Tim Barber Assistant public defender Doug Woodruff waits for a verdict in the Sam Parker murder trial outside the Walker County Courthouse on Wednesday.
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Doug Woodruff, who lost by 42 votes in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit district attorney race, is asking the state to count the votes again.

Woodruff, a public defender in the four-county Lookout Mountain circuit, challenged the current district attorney, Herbert "Buzz" Franklin, and led the races on election night until the last votes were tallied.

Since the Georgia Secretary of State's Office didn't certify the votes until Tuesday, Woodruff waited to petition for a recount.

"If there were any changes, it could affect the election," he said.

Secretary of State Office personnel said they should make a decision by today whether to order a recount in the circuit. If the vote difference is less than 1 percent, they usually agree to do so, officials said.

The final vote count showed Franklin leading with 10,978 votes and Woodruff taking 10,936 votes -- a 0.2 percent difference. Woodruff won Walker and Catoosa counties, while Franklin won his home county of Dade and in Chattooga County.

Most of the voting is electronic, so the request won't put a large financial burden on the counties, Secretary of State spokesman Jared Thomas said.

Franklin, who has been in office for 15 years, didn't return requests for comment.

Woodruff, who works as chief assistant for the public defender's office, was Franklin's first challenger in more than 10 years. During the neck-and-neck campaign, Woodruff pledged to be a leader who was visible and engaged, saying that sometimes is lacking in the current prosecutor's office.

He gained financial support from prominent business leaders in the community as well as public officials including state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga.

Franklin stuck to his campaign promise that he would continue to fight for harsh sentences in the circuit and had a track record of being tough on crime.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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