Republican challenger Richard Hudson was victorious over Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell in the hotly contested 8th Congressional District race, defeating the embattled congressman by double digits.
According to unofficial returns, Hudson led Kissell by 54 percent to 44 percent in a district that where the politics skewed hard right following recent redistricting by the Republican controlled state legislature.
It was unclear what effect, if any, the write in candidacy of former Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue had on the outcome. At press time less than two percent of the ballots cast were for a write in candidate.
The congressman called Hudson at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to offer his concession, telling the challenger that “he’ll be representing some of the best people in the world.”
“I’ll be working with Richard to make sure we have a seamless transition so that our folks who need help will be ensured the world- class constituent service they deserve and have come to expect,” Kissell said in a statement. “I have been absolutely blessed to have the support of my family, friends and supporters from across this wonderful district.”
Kissell has served the district since 2009 after defeating Republican incumbent Robin Hayes.
In recent months Kissell had been criticized by those within his party for failing to support President Barack Obama and for not voting along with his party on several high profile votes, including the Affordable Care Act. Kissell was also criticized for not attending the Democratic National Convention, which was held next door to his district in Charlotte.
Defending the decision, Kissell said that he was busy doing the work of a congressman and visiting the people of his district.
Familiar with the district, Hudson worked in with Hayes office for about six years as a district director. Hudson campaigned on bringing jobs to the district and on bringing what he said were much needed reforms to Medicare.
In Scotland County voters chose Kissell over Hudson by a wide margin. According to unofficial returns, 8751 Scotland County voters chose Kissell, with 4221 choosing Hudson. The Scotland County Board of Election reported that 617 ballots were cast for a write in candidate.