Incumbent Democrat Jonathan Wallace has lost to Republican Marcus Wiedower for the District 119 state House of Representatives seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
Wallace lost the district, which includes parts of Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County, with 46.53 percent of the vote, while Wiedower won with 53.47 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office just before 9 a.m. on Nov. 7.
Clarke County didn’t finish reporting results until just before 9 a.m.
“The work that we’ve done, the seeds that we’ve planted … some of those will bear fruit tonight, some of them won’t, but those seeds have been planted,” Wallace said to a dwindling crowd of about 20 attendees around 11:45 p.m. “We’ve done the hard work to build momentum and connection amongst one another. That is what I’m proud about.”
Wallace’s watch party, which he shared with state Senate District 47 candidate Dawn Johnson, who also lost her race, began with about 100 people in attendance and took place at The Glass Building on South Milledge Avenue.
Until last year’s special election, Republican candidates for District 119 had been uncontested since 2004. Wallace won the seat in last year’s special election with 56.71 percent of the vote over three Republican candidates including Wiedower who received 17.29 percent of the vote.
For this year’s general election, Wiedower attended a viewing party with Republicans Bill Cowsert, Houston Gaines and Frank Ginn at Hyatt Place, next door to Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp’s watch party at The Classic Center.
“I didn’t know what this night would be like,” Wiedower said at midnight. “I’ve often told people that I felt like it would be more full of relief than excitement. I’m glad to tell you that I’m wrong. I’m excited as all get out.”
Meanwhile, Wallace said he was proud of the work his campaign has done and emphasized that the larger picture is more important than his loss.
“It doesn’t matter what happens with this particular race because it’s not about one particular race. This is about the process of democracy,” Wallace said.
The remaining attendees were discouraged with Wallace's loss but remained hopeful.
“I’m really proud of how everything has turned out tonight,” said Diana Garcia, an intern with Wallace’s campaign. “Like he said, we planted the seeds. We talked to so many people. So I’m really glad that I experienced this. I’m feeling kind of sad clearly but we want to be hopeful.”
A 2001 graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in computer science, Wallace worked in the technology industry before last year’s special election.
This year, Wallace ran a campaign for District 119 focused on expanding Medicaid, securing Georgia’s election systems, combating gerrymandering with an independent redistricting committee, lowering auto insurance rates and repealing campus carry.