- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Two candidates for a northwest Georgia state Senate seat are headed to a runoff election.

According to unofficial results on Tuesday, Republican Chuck Payne and Debby Peppers received the most votes of five primary candidates. Peppers is running without party affiliation.

The seat opened this fall when Gov. Nathan Deal appointed former state Sen. Charlie Bethel, a Dalton Republican, to the Court of Appeals. The district covers Gordon, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties.

Payne is a retired juvenile probation officer and a former chair of the Whitfield County Republican Party. Peppers is an attorney and a former member of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners.

The runoff election is Jan. 10.

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