Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Tom Dickson won the State House District 6 seat with 50.33 percent of the votes. It also said Steve Farrow won the Conasauga Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge seat with 50.74 percent of the vote. These results did not include voters from Murray County. The Times Free Press regrets this error.
Northwest Georgia election results
State House District 3: Dewayne Hill 57.91 percent, Jeff Holcomb 42.09 percent
Tax Commissioner: Gary Wayne Autry 54.65 percent, Jama House 45.35 percent
State House District 6: Tom Dickson (I): 45.96 percent, Jason Ridley: 54.04 percent
Conasauga Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge: -- Scott Minter: 56.26 percent, Steve Farrow: 43.74 percent
Magistrate: John Lofty 38.1 percent, Shana Byers Vinyard 61.90 percent
RINGGOLD, Ga. — With the backing of lawmakers throughout Georgia, Dewayne Hill will join the state legislature.
Hill, a former Catoosa County commissioner, defeated Jeff Holcomb in a run-off election Tuesday for the State House of Representatives District 3 seat. Hill received about 58 percent of the 3,146 votes cast.
The results were much different from the May 24 Republican Party primary, a three-person race. In that election, Holcomb came in first with 48 percent of 4,061 votes cast. He needed a majority to win outright, though.
"I'm just humbled by all the supporters and friends — and the new friends we've made along the way," Hill said Tuesday night. "I'm just grateful for the support along the way."
Holcomb blamed his loss on flyers distributed the week before the election, which accused him of abusing his power as a Fort Oglethorpe police officer. He plans to retire from politics.
"They smeared me with dirty, lying tactics," he said. "But there's nothing you can do about it. That's life."
Hill believes Tuesday's results were so different than the ones in May because of his connections. Angelic Moore, a campaign manager, moved in with him at the beginning of June. She said Hill's supporters knocked on a lot of doors and flooded the area with campaign signs.
Moore is a friend of State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, and said she joined the Hill campaign at Mullis' request.
"Jeff Mullis is always there to help everybody else," she said. "And I will be here to help Jeff Mullis."
In Atlanta, Hill said he hopes to bring more manufacturing jobs to the region, as well as more opportunities for locals to receive technical training. He believes Catoosa County is a prime location for companies hoping to work with Volkswagen.
During his campaign, Holcomb positioned himself as the outsider, the candidate who wouldn't hold loyalties to any other politician in the state legislature. He pointed mostly to campaign disclosure reports. As of last week, he had raised only $5,800 — $4,200 of that from a loan.
Hill, on the other hand, raised $53,000. That included $32,900 from committees representing 25 current members of the state House and Senate.
"I'm not impressed by a politician," Holcomb said. "I'm not impressed by someone who has a lot of money and has a lot of power. I'm not trying to meet the governor and shake his hand. I want to take the values of the people of District 3, go to Atlanta and legislate."
Hill argued the support would make him a more effective politician. The District 3 representative will have to work with other members of the House to pass legislation. Hill believes his connections in Atlanta could help bring more businesses to Catoosa County. He said he has already written to the corporate offices of Publix and Chick-Fil-A.
"They know who I am," he said of his donors. "They like who I am. They support me. And that's the kind of relationship you've got to have when you go down there."
Besides campaign signs, the support for Hill bought him mailers that questioned Holcomb's experience as a Fort Oglethorpe police officer. The mailers featured photos of Holcomb sleeping in his patrol car and the police department. Holcomb has since said those photos were taken out of context, that he was posing for those pictures as a joke among officers.
Holcomb argued his time as chief prepared him to be a state representative. He said he now knows how to maneuver through petty politics, which he says were to blame for the criticism he received as chief.
Hill has also argued that his political experience would prepare him for a career in the state House. Hill was a Catoosa County commissioner from 2007-14, and he said he learned how to compromise with fellow commissioners. In addition to pushing for Cabella's to open in Fort Oglethorpe, he said, Hill helped oversee the county budget during the Great Recession and the April 2011 tornadoes.
From fiscal years 2009-15, under Hill's watch, the local portion of property taxes increased by about 22 percent. But, he said, this was necessary given the conditions of the county at the time.
The county also had to pay Erlanger Health System about $6.2 million earlier this year as a result of the commission's decision in 2011 to back a loan that Erlanger gave to Hutcheson Medical Center.
"It's easy for someone to say 'I'll never raise taxes,'" Hill said last week. "The only reason they say that is because they're running for the next term."
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.