Zhane Johnson, 14, watches as her mother, Cassandra, casts her ballot at Mary Mcleod Bethune Middle School in Decatur in July. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Republican JaNice Van Ness captures Ga. Senate seat

Republican JaNice Van Ness won a close Georgia Senate runoff election Tuesday night, taking control of a seat previously held by a Democrat, according to unofficial election results.

Van Ness, a former Rockdale commissioner, defeated former state Rep. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia.

Van Ness will represent about 172,000 residents in DeKalb, Rockdale and Newton counties.

Van Ness and Anderson were the two leading candidates among eight people on the ballot during a Nov. 3 special election to represent Senate District 43.

The Senate seat became vacant in July when Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Sen. Ronald Ramsey, D-Lithonia, to become a judge in DeKalb County State Court’s Traffic Division.

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