Abrams backs winners, Trump picks blown out in Georgia runoffs
Three Democrats endorsed by Stacey Abrams won runoffs for statewide office Tuesday, while two Republicans beat other members of their party who had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Bee Nguyen beat Dee Dawkins-Haigler in the Democratic race for secretary of state. Charlie Bailey beat Kwanza Hall in the party’s race for lieutenant governor, while state Rep. William Boddie Jr. beat Nicole Horn for the Democratic nod for labor commissioner. All three were endorsed by Abrams, meaning she got a racially diverse ticket for her November run against incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
Georgia Republicans chose their nominees in two heavily GOP districts in Tuesday runoffs. In the 10th Congressional District east of Atlanta, Mike Collins beat former Democrat Vernon Jones. In suburban Atlanta’s 6th District, Rich McCormick beat Jake Evans.
Both Jones and Evans lost badly after both were endorsed by Trump. That means that the majority of Trump’s choices who were opposed in Republican primaries in Georgia lost, including former Sen. David Perdue, who was blown out by Kemp in the governor’s race.
Here’s a look at races other than the Democratic secretary of state:
Bailey, who was the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2018, beat former Atlanta City Council member Hall. Bailey had trailed Hall in the May 24 primary but overtook him with backing by Democratic leaders, including Abrams
Bailey will take on Republican state Sen. Burt Jones, who won the nomination after being endorsed by Trump. Republican incumbent Geoff Duncan didn’t seek another term.
Bailey had been running for attorney general again but shifted into the lieutenant governor’s race. Bailey is promising to work with Abrams to cover uninsured adults, improve education and increase public safety. Bailey attacked Hall for money Hall received from the city of Atlanta after stepping down from the City Council. Despite a prohibition on the city hiring former officials for a year, Hall said he did nothing wrong.
Hall, who also served out the last month of the late John Lewis’ term in Congress, enjoyed strong name recognition from his time on City Council, but his low-dollar campaign wasn’t enough to overcome Abrams’ support of the better-financed Bailey.
Boddie beat entrepreneur Horn for the Democratic nomination for labor commissioner and will face state Sen. Bruce Thompson, the Republican nominee, in November.
Republican incumbent Mark Butler didn’t seek reelection after the state Labor Department was beset by complaints when Georgia’s unemployment rate hit a record during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Boddie and Horn agreed that the department needs more money to hire more employees, ensuring jobless benefit applicants can get responses to questions. Boddie has said his legislative experience will help him persuade lawmakers to give the department more money.
Boddie criticized Republicans for pulling Georgia out of the federal program that extended unemployment benefits months before the federal program expired.
The Democrats’ nominee from 2018 will get another run at being Georgia’s chief insurance regulator, as Janice Laws Robinson beat insurance salesman Raphael Baker. She will face incumbent Republican John King in November.
Laws Robinson has said she would target Georgia’s high auto insurance costs by changing state law to make it easier for the commissioner to block rate increases before they take effect. She has said she would also crack down on insurers taking advantage of policy buyers through unfair underwriting practices.
Baker, a Democratic activist, said he wanted to lower auto insurance rates. He said Black consumers, in particular, pay too much, and he wanted to make insurance practices more equitable.
In the 10th Congressional District east of Atlanta, trucking company owner Collins easily beat Jones in a bitter runoff. Trump backed Jones, but Kemp, fresh off a primary triumph over Trump-endorsed Perdue, joined other GOP officeholders in backing Collins.
In the 6th District in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, emergency room physician McCormick romped over Trump-backed lawyer Evans. That race revolved around accusations by each candidate that the other is insufficiently conservative.
The 6th and the 10th are both heavily Republican districts.
In southwest Georgia’s 2nd District, real estate developer Chris West, who finished second on May 24, edged out former Army officer Jeremy Hunt. West will carry forward Republicans’ high hopes of knocking off 30-year Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop in November.
In suburban Atlanta’s 7th District, frontrunner Mark Gonsalves beat Michael Corbin, and will face Democrat Lucy McBath in a district that became much more Democratic in redistricting.
In coastal Georgia’s 1st District, lawyer Wade Herring swamped Joyce Marie Griggs after outspending her. Herring told Democrats he would have a better chance of upsetting incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter. Griggs, a disbarred lawyer, had lost to Carter as the Democratic nominee in 2020.
But in the 10th District, Tabitha Johnson-Green will be the Democratic nominee for the third cycle in a row after losing to Republican incumbent Jody Hice in 2018 and 2020. She handily beat Athens real estate agent and musician Jessica Fore, and will face Collins in November.
STATE LEGISLATIVE SEATS
Party nominations were being settled in one state Senate and 10 state House seats.
Banker Mike Hodges beat former state House member Jeff Jones for the Republican nomination in Senate District 3 on the Georgia coast, covering all of Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Glynn and McIntosh counties and part of Ware County.
Among six Republican and four Democratic state House contests were two incumbents who didn’t win majorities on May 24 and needed wins Tuesday to keep their chances of reelection alive. Republican incumbent Sheri Gilligan, a sometime critic of House Speaker David Ralston, was opposed by Carter Barrett in House District 24 in southwestern Forsyth County. Democratic incumbent Roger Bruce was vying with Rashaun Kemp in House District 61 in southern Fulton and northeastern Douglas counties.