Georgia Primary Election Recap

May 25, 2018

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With current Gov. Nathan Deal term-limited, a wide range of candidates from both parties have joined the competitive contest to replace him. Tuesday’s primary led to a runoff between the top two finalists among those vying for the Republican nomination. Establishment favorite Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will face Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the Republican primary runoff on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Whoever advances from the runoff will oppose former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in November’s general election.

Abrams clinched the Democratic nomination for the governorship by a considerable percentage of votes, ousting her opponent, former state Rep. Stacey Evans. In defeating Evans, Abrams made history as the nation’s first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor.

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Lieutenant Governor

On the Republican side, former Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer will face former state Rep. Geoff Duncan in the Republican primary runoff. The winning candidate will compete in November’s general election against business executive Sarah Riggs Amico, who won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in Tuesday’s primary.

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Secretary of State

Sitting Secretary of State Brian Kemp decided not to seek re-election for his current seat but rather to make a run for governor, leaving this seat open without an incumbent running. In the four-man Republican primary, former state Rep. Brad Raffensperger and Alpharetta Mayor David Isle emerged on top and will face one another in July’s runoff. On the Democratic side, former Congressman John Barrow secured his party’s nomination by a sizable margin.

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Other Constitutional Officers

Incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Labor Commissioner Mark Butler were uncontested in Tuesday’s primary, but all are set to face Democratic challengers in the general election. Democratic candidates Sid Chapman and Otha Thornton Jr. will advance to July’s runoff in their bid for the position of superintendent of education. The winner will face Republican incumbent Richard Woods this November. Former Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck won the Republican nomination for insurance commissioner and will face Democratic candidate Janice Laws in the general election.

Georgia General Assembly

House of Representatives

Of the 180 seats in the Georgia House of Representatives, over half will be uncontested in November’s general election. Tuesday’s primary resulted in eight runoff elections, six of which are between Republicans and two are between Democratic candidates. A total of seven incumbents — John Deffenbaugh (R) in District 1, Howard Mosby (D) in District 83, Earnest Williams (D) in District 87, Johnnie Caldwell (R) in District 131, Darrel Ealum (D) in District 153, Dan Gasaway (R) in District 28 and Jason Spencer (R) in District 180 — lost their seats to interparty opponents in Tuesday’s primary.


Similar to the House, over half of the state’s 56 senators will have no qualifying opponent in the general election. Only one incumbent, Sen. Curt Thompson (D) in District 5, was ousted by an interparty challenger in this year’s primary. Democrat Sheikh Rahman won Thompson’s seat for Georgia’s fifth district and will not face opposition in November’s election. The contest between current Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson (D) in District 41 and opponent Sabrina McKenzie Wright remains too close to call.

Incumbents Who Lost

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U.S. House of Representatives

No member of Georgia’s U.S. House delegation lost to an opponent in Tuesday’s primary. All incumbents will face challengers in November’s general election, except Rep. John Lewis (D) in District 5 and Rep. Austin Scott (R) in District 8, who will remain uncontested. In both the sixth and seventh congressional districts, candidates on the Democratic side will face off in the upcoming primary runoff. The winners will oppose Rep. Karen Handel (R) in District 6 and Rep. Rob Woodall (R) in District 7 this November. These two districts will host competitive races this fall as Democrats attempt to motivate a “blue wave” in what have traditionally been Republican strongholds.