By EMILY R. WEST
Taking over the seat of expelled legislator Jeremy Durham, Republican nominee Sam Whitson won in the District 65 House race.
Whitson beat his Democratic challenger Holly McCall by 21,629 votes to 8,940 votes. That is with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.
The District 65 seat has been open since September when members of the House expelled Durham for inappropriate behavior in a 70-2 vote.
Whitson previously beat Durham in the August primary by landslide of more than 2,000 votes. The newly-elected Republican announced his intent to run in January.
“There’s a lot to learn up there,” Whitson said. “Transportation, infrastructure, support for our public school, leaping our taxes low and support for our first responders are what people are talking about. We have to have some leadership and political courage to fix the problems we have.”
During the campaign cycle, Whitson stayed out the political fray with Durham, iterating he wanted to concentrate on the issues. He said Mack Hatcher Parkway, Highway 31 and Highway 100 were his top concerns along with better funding for Williamson County Schools.
He’s repeatedly said during the past few months he wanted to ensure better BEP funding options for the school system, noting he wanted to work with Sargent to accomplish that goal. He’s also said he would like to keep in close communication with TDOT Commissioner John Schroer to handle the issues Williamson sees in its road infrastructure.
Whitson has noted several times in the course of his 10-month campaign that he would also like to restore integrity to the seat and become a voice in the GOP caucus.
“I have never been on legislative plaza, and I believe that’s a good thing,” Whitson said. “I am going to serve the 65th District. I will do my best up there and represent us with integrity and credibility.”
McCall conceded at the Williamson County Democratic Party’s celebration at the Bunganut Pig.
“There’s literally nothing else we would have done to close a margin like that,” McCall said. “I think we ran a great race and I am pleased with it. I wish Sam well, and I will help him out, but I am not going away.”