With 2,995, or 38 percent of the vote, Woodstock pastor Wes Cantrell came in first in the race for the District 22 seat, with Meagan Biello, a Cherokee school teacher, trailing not far behind, unofficial results showed Tuesday night.
Cantrell and Biello will now face each other in the July 22 runoff.
Biello got 2,505 votes, or 32 percent of the 7,877 ballots cast in the three-county race, results showed.
Moore trailed just behind Biello with 2,377 votes, or 30 percent of the vote, for the seat covering large parts of Cherokee and Forsyth counties, along with a small piece of Fulton.
With first place in hand, Cantrell said he was ready to move on to the runoff.
“We feel great,” said Cantrell, 52, a young adult pastor at First Baptist Woodstock. “It’s quite encouraging. We definitely have the momentum; we’re going to continue to grow on that.”
He said he was looking forward to a positive race.
Biello also feels good about her chances in the runoff.
“Everyone is pumped to see this thing through,” said Biello, 32, a teacher at Creekview High School. “I feel confident that we have good momentum. I guess one advantage I have as a teacher is that I have all summer to be out knocking on doors.”
Moore couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night.
The 38-year-old Georgia Tech graduate took office in mid-February after beating Biello in a runoff to replace the late Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton), who died of leukemia last year. Moore won that race by about 400 votes.
His brief tenure was quickly troublesome, with many of his colleagues spurning him for a bill they said would be a huge danger to children, allowing sex offenders to lurk around schools and other places with kids, as an unintended consequence. Moore, though, maintained that the bill was misunderstood and that it was lied about by his political opponents.
He was later ranked dead last in the Georgia Chamber’s scoring of state lawmakers’ voting records on pro-business measures. Moore also took issue with that distinction.
The candidates were running for the Republican nomination in the November general election, though no candidates from outside the GOP signed on to run, meaning that the runoff will decide the district’s new representative.
Meanwhile, all of Cherokee County’s other representatives in the state Legislature won re-election unopposed Tuesday. They included Reps. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock), Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs), Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton), John Carson (R-Marietta), and Sens. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), Bruce Thompson (R-White) and John Albers (R-Alpharetta).
Other unopposed incumbents heading back to office were Chief Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris, State Court Judge Alan Jordan and Cherokee Solicitor General Jessica Moss.