MARIETTA, Ga. -- State legislator George 'Buddy' Darden, who soundly defeated Kathryn McDonald in the race for her late husband's House seat, prepared Wednesday to head to Washington for the final days of the 1983 congressional session.
Darden, 39, polled 59 percent of the vote Tuesday in a runoff election to fill the remaining 14 months of the term of conservative Democratic Rep. Larry McDonald, who died in the Sept. 1 Soviet downing of a Korean passenger plane.
Darden, a Democrat, said he would send Gov. Joe Frank Harris his resignation from the Georgia General Assembly and be sworn in Thursday in Washington.
Congressional leaders are trying to finish up this year's session by Nov. 18, and won't return until Jan. 23. The makeup of the House remains unchanged at 286 Democrats and 167 Republicans with Darden's arrival.
Mrs. McDonald, who had led the first round of non-partisan voting Oct. 19, won only three of the 7th District's seven counties in the runoff and lost the population centers of Marietta, Rome and Cartersville to Darden.
After conceding defeat, Mrs. McDonald, 34, said she felt relieved the campaign was over and went into seclusion. She attributed her loss partly to the grief she and her husband's staff have borne for eight weeks.
'It's hard to put your whole heart into something when half of it is broken,' she said.
I think the people perceived me as the best-qualified candidate,' said Darden, a two-term state legislator and former county prosecutor. 'I'll be accessible to the people and I'll belong to no special interest groups.'
Mrs. McDonald is a member of the John Birch Society, which her husband headed, and her past association with Republican and conservative causes was an issue that Darden exploited during their brief, bitter campaign.
She sought to depict him as a liberal, citing his support by labor organizations.
But Mrs. McDonald was unable to attract the Republican vote that had gone to GOP contender David Sellers in the first round. She had led a field of 19 candidates last month, with 36 percent of the vote, but raised her final total to only 40 percent.