ALBANY, Ga. -- Two days after losing to Republican Sam Olens in the battle to become Georgia's next attorney general, Ken Hodges says he is experiencing a mixture of relief and disappointment.
"Obviously we didn't get the outcome we wanted, but is a relief that after a year and a half of campaigning, it's finally over," Hodges said Thursday. "I am now looking forward to spending some time with my wife and children."
Unofficial results from Georgia's Secretary of State show with 99 percent of the state's 2, 840 precincts in, Olens had 1,348,560 votes (53 percent) to Hodges' 1,107,745 votes (43.5 percent). Libertarian Don Smart garnered 88,364 votes (3.5 percent).
Hodges blamed a large part of his defeat on the state's swing to the right and an anti-Democrat mood among the electorate.
"No question that we were on the wrong end of an anti-Democrat wave in Georgia, especially in the larger statewide races," Hodges said. "Running as a Democrat statewide was not easy. The Republicans definitely had a leg up this year."
Republicans swept all nine statewide offices up for grabs on Tuesday. Hodges, however, pointed out that his 43.5 percent total was the highest among his fellow Democrats.
"I wasn't really that surprised by the outcome, especially in today's political environment," Hodges said. "Though I was hoping we'd at least get into a runoff because we'd gotten good feedback from many Republicans.
"But the mood of Georgia resulted in a different outcome. We faced a good candidate who didn't have much of a background, but also didn't have some of the problems the others had."
So, what now for the former Dougherty County District Attorney?
"I'll return to private practice with the Baudino Law Group in Atlanta," Hodges said. "My schedule won't be nearly as hectic because there will be less going on in my life. I'm really going to enjoy spending some time with my family. They made a lot of sacrifices over the past year and a half."
And what about any future runs at public office? Hodges did not seem like a man eager to toss his hat back into the ring any time soon.
"I don't see any more races in my future. I think I'm done," Hodges said. "The only thing on my mind right now is spending some time with my family and getting back to work and a normal life."