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Merrell claims DA’s race

Republican Walt Merrell claimed a decisive victory as Covington County’s new district attorney Tuesday.

“What this shows is that it’s not so much about me – it’s a statement of the people of Covington County and how truly invested they are in the betterment of this county,” Merrell said of the Tuesday’s voter turnout.

DA Greg Gambril meets successful challenger Walt Merrell in the courthouse Tuesday night.

Of the 12,298 votes cast, Merrell won with 7,724 votes (64 percent) to the incumbent Greg Gambril’s 4,429 (36 percent).

“I knew I had been called to do this job (as district attorney),” Merrell said. “History shows if you answer the call, He will provide.”

Merrell, a former assistant district attorney currently in private practice, said he felt “humbled” by the win, and expressed his thanks to his wife, his family and his supporters.

“We’ve worked for months on our ‘battle plan,’ ” he said. “Now, it’s time to put that battle plan into action against the criminals of this county. There is going to be a transition period, but we’ve got a month and a half for that. I hope to get a lot of cooperation with the current administration, so when January comes, we can get right to work.”

Gambril (D), who has served as DA for the past six years and worked as an assistant DA for 12 years before that, said that despite his defeat, he was a “blessed man.”

“I stand here (Tuesday night) with a clear direction from God,” Gambril said. “My future is not in the Covington County District Attorney’s Office. That’s OK. I’ve worked myself to the bone, and I couldn’t have given a better effort than I did. The people voted for something different, and I (went) to bed a blessed man.”

After expressing his appreciation for campaign support, Gambril said he is now facing a “new direction,” but that he has no immediate plans.

“It’s scary, but exciting,” he said. “I have no plans other than to do a lot of praying. God’s not done with me yet.”

Merrell will be sworn into office in January.