ALBANY, Ga. -- Republican candidate Sam Olens, according to early returns, appears to be winning his battle with former Albanian Ken Hodges to be Georgia's Attorney General.
With 86 percent of the precincts statewide reporting, Olens had 53.1 percent of the tally with 1,284,665 votes. Hodges had 1,052,723 votes, or 43.5 percent of the votes.
The mood from Olens' campaign headquarters was "cautiously optimistic."
"So far it looks good," said Sherri Kell, spokeswoman for Olens early in the evening.
Meantime, Hodges still maintains hope of overtaking Olens when all returns are in.
"I think things are going great," he said in a phone interview with The Albany Herald Tuesday evening. "We are expecting a victory.
"I've got the most bi-partisan support of any candidate. When people look at candidates, (party lines) shouldn't play role in the vote for attorney general. I'm looking forward to becoming the next attorney general."
Olens and Hodges were aiming to replace Thurbert Baker, who ran unsuccessfully in his pursuit to become the Democratic nominee for governor during the primary election in July.
During their campaigns, both candidates had promised to be defenders of the state's Open Records/Open Meetings Laws and also recognized that the water war involving Georgia, Florida and Alabama could be solved solely through successful negotiations with the appropriate state leaders.
Both also indicated that they would continue to pursue the state's lawsuit regarding the health care legislation passed earlier this year.
Before his run for attorney general, Hodges served as the district attorney in Dougherty County for 12 years. Olens is a former Cobb County Commission chairman.
Libertarian Don Smart, an attorney from Savannah, was also vying for the job. The early numbers from the Georgia Secretary of State office indicated that he was holding at just over 3 percent with roughly 49,000 votes.