ATLANTA (AP) — Some of the top Republican primary contests in Georgia – including one deciding who will face a Democrat vying to become the first black female governor in the U.S. – are still undecided after Tuesday’s primaries and will go to a July 24 runoff.
No GOP candidate for governor, lieutenant governor or secretary of state was able to secure more than 50 percent of the vote, triggering runoffs between the top two in each race.
The Democratic contest to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel for her highly competitive Atlanta-area seat in Georgia’s 6th District is also headed to a runoff. Handel won the seat in a tight special election runoff last June against Democrat Jon Ossoff in what became the most expensive U.S. House race in history.
Here is a look at some of the major primary races in Georgia that will be decided by runoff:
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Democrat Stacey Abrams made history Tuesday when she became the first female candidate nominated by either major party for Georgia governor. But the bruising Republican primary to face her presses on as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp try to rally conservative voters to their campaigns.
Cagle, who unofficial results showed receiving about 39 percent of Republican votes Tuesday, and Kemp, who received about 26 percent, beat three GOP rivals in a race characterized by strong support for gun rights and tough talk on immigration.
Cagle gained national attention in February when he used his position to kill a tax break benefiting Delta Air Lines, one of Georgia’s largest employers, for ending a discount program for members of the National Rifle Association.
Kemp garnered strong criticism – and national headlines – with a series of campaign ads including one where he says he has a big truck, “Just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself.”
Cagle, who has served as lieutenant governor since 2007 and before that in the state Senate since 1995, has positioned himself as a business-friendly tactician who can carry the torch of current Gov. Nathan Deal’s legacy of economic growth.
Kemp on the other hand, who has served as Secretary of State since 2010 and before that in the state Senate starting in 2003, has downplayed his political experience and has styled himself as a “politically incorrect” outsider challenging the establishment.
The candidates are vying to succeed the term-limited Deal, who has held the office since 2011.
Sarah Riggs Amico secured the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, an open position vacated by Cagle, while David Shafer of Duluth and Geoff Duncan of Cumming will head to a runoff for Republicans.
Shafer received just under 49 percent of GOP votes, narrowly missing the 50 percent plus one vote needed to secure the nomination outright. Duncan got about 27 percent, beating out former state Sen. Rick Jeffares in the three-way contest.
Shafer has served in the state Senate since 2002 and before that served as the executive director of the Georgia Republican Party.
Duncan, a former Georgia Tech star pitcher who played minor league baseball with the Florida Marlins for six seasons, served in the state House between 2013 and 2017.
The lieutenant governor serves as president of the state Senate, overseeing debate and legislative maneuvers in the chamber.
SECRETARY OF STATE
John Barrow beat out two opponents for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State, an open position vacated by Kemp.
For Republicans, state Rep. Brad Raffensperger of Johns Creek and former Alpharetta mayor David Belle Isle head to a runoff after coming out on top in the four-way race. Raffensperger got about 35 percent of GOP votes, while Belle Isle got about 29 percent.
The office oversees elections in Georgia as well as corporate filings and professional licensing. The next Secretary of State will enter the office amid scrutiny over Georgia’s voting system, with critics saying the electronic-touchscreen system currently used lacks a verifiable paper trail and pushing for an overhaul.
U.S. HOUSE – DISTRICT 6
Handel ran unopposed among Republicans in the primary for her U.S. House seat in Georgia’s 6th District, while Ossoff had announced in February he would not join the race again among Democrats.
Lucy McBath, who garnered 36 percent of votes, and Kevin Abel, who brought in just under 31 percent, head to a runoff for the Democratic nomination after beating out two others.
McBath of Marietta is a gun control activist whose teenage son was fatally shot in Florida in 2012.
Abel, who emigrated to the U.S. from South Africa as a teen, is a businessman from Sandy Springs.