With no candidate receiving more than half the vote in the May 24 state House District 80 Republican primary, the race will now be decided in a runoff.

Alan Cole garnered about 36 percent of the vote with Meagan Hanson in second with about 34 percent. Catherine Bernard trailed in third with about 30 percent, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State Office at midnight.

Republican primary candidate for House District 80 Alan Cole, far right, celebrates his apparent first place finish with Brookhaven Councilmember Bates Mattison, center, and former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

The runoff is slated for July 26.

“I can’t say I’m surprised we’re going to a runoff with three running,” Alan Cole said while celebrating with friends and supporters at Avellino’s Italian restaurant on Windsor Parkway. “It looks like [we did] well but not as well as I’d like.”

Brookhaven City Councilmember Bates Mattison and former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis were at the celebration and congratulated Cole for his apparent first place finish.

Cole said his strategy for the runoff in two months is to continue to knock on doors to make sure people vote.

“It’s a turnout issue,” he said.

Meagan Hanson, center, with her mother Linda Myers, far left, sister Melanie Myers, and friends Nelson Lewis and Dane Cooper. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

At the Olde Blind Dog pub in Town Brookhaven, Meagan Hanson was sitting with family and supporters. She had a laptop and cellphone in front of her and was checking the numbers and responding to texts.

“I feel good. I did everything I could possibly do,” she said. “I’m comfortable with the campaign I ran – I kept it fact-based.”

Catherine Bernard gathered with supporters at There pub in Town Brookhaven after polls closed.

“I feel wonderful. I talked to folks all over the district and a lot of people are happy about positive solutions being offered,” she said.

This was Bernard’s third time running for the seat that includes Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, a sliver of Dunwoody and a portion of Chamblee. She ran against former Brookhaven mayor and fellow Republican J. Max Davis and Democrat Taylor Bennett in a special election last year to fill the seat after Mike Jacobs resigned after he was appointed to a judgeship. Davis and Bennett were the top two vote getters and  went to a runoff where Bennett was evenually the winner. Bernard unsuccessfully challenged Jacobs in 2014.

“This is my third time running and you learn a lot,” she said. “You refine and focus on what’s the most important [part of] the job as representative, which is to talk to the people you represent.”

Catherine Bernard with supporter Lisa Fleming. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

Bernard again tsk tsked the “political insider” game she has accused some Republicans of playing. When Will Kremer, former chair of the Georgia Association of College Republicans and a Hanson supporter, filed an ethics complaint against her earlier this month, Bernard said he was one of the “smirking, useless frat boys in the Georgia Republican Party.”

“The whole political insider game really obstructs a representative from doing their job,” she said.

The winner of the Republican primary will face incumbent Democrat Taylor Bennett in November.

UPDATE on May 26: Meagan Hanson said on a Facebook post she was looking forward to the runoff:

It appears that we are in the run-off. Go ahead and mark your calendars for July 26th!

I want to congratulate Catherine Bernard on another well-fought race. Her hard work and excellent ground game made me work harder, which is why I am where I am today.

Here’s to another 8 weeks. Please let me know if you want to volunteer (phones, door to door, etc.). Thank you again for all your support! #‎HD80‬

And from Bernard:

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.