Election results give GOP supermajority in Senate

The expected swearing-in Monday of Dean Burke will give Senate Republicans a two-thirds “supermajority” — enough votes in the chamber to assure passage on issues that could alter the state constitution.

Burke won the race Tuesday for Senate District 11, in the state’s rural southwest corner. He will replace veteran state Sen. John Bulloch, R-Ochlocknee, who resigned in December while recovering from meningitis.

Unofficial election results also showed a winner for the state House. The race for a second House seat is headed for a March 5 runoff.

Burke’s election brings to 38 the number of GOP seats in the 56-seat Senate, a majority so large Democrats could not block proposed changes to the state constitution on their own.

Constitutional amendments need two-thirds support in both chambers to get on the ballot. Republicans are a seat short in the House, although as recently as last year they joined with some Democrats to push through a successful amendment on charter schools.

Voters on Tuesday also elected businessman Scot Turner in a runoff to replace former state Rep. Sean Jerguson in Cherokee County’s House District 21.

For House District 71, including parts of Coweta and Fayette counties, Republicans Thomas Crymes and David Stover will face off next month to determine a winner.