Indicted Republican Rep. Pat Swindall lost a bitter reelection battle to a former television actor who is a reformed alcoholic, while George Bush captured Georgia’s 12 electoral votes.
Swindall lost his 4th Congressional District seat to Democratic challenger Ben Jones, who played “Cooter” in TV’s the “Dukes of Hazzard” and narrowly lost to Swindall in 1986. Turnout in the district was so heavy some people had to stand in line for up to two hours.
The race, one of the nation’s nastiest, was marked by Swindall’s references to Jones’ drinking and arrest record, and Swindall’s indictment on federal perjury charges stemming from a grand jury investigation of drug money-laundering. Jones says he hasn’t had a drink since 1977 and that the arrests date to his drinking days. Swindall had sought a trial before the election, but the jury was dismissed after Swindall’s campaign sent out leaflets saying he had passed a lie detector test.
Bush’s victory over Democrat Michael S. Dukakis continued a string of Republican successes. Only John F. Kennedy in 1960 and native son Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980 have carried Georgia for the Democrats in the last 28 years.
With 86% of the precincts counted, Bush had 858,364, or 59% to Dukakis’ 590,374 votes, or 41%.
Democrats hold eight of the state’s 10 U.S. House seats.