Jan. 6 rioter among candidates advancing to June runoffs in 3 U.S. House primary races in Georgia

Six candidates are headed to runoff elections in June in three U.S. House primary races in Georgia after voting concluded Tuesday.
Voters walk into Ormewood Park Church in Atlanta, Georgia for Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

Georgia voters on Tuesday advanced a former Donald Trump aide and a former state Senate majority leader to a GOP runoff for an open seat in the strongly Republican 3rd Congressional District in West Georgia.

It was one of three primary races for U.S. House seats in Georgia to go into extra innings.

Two Republicans — including one who served time in federal prison for his role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — will face off for the right to take on a 16-term Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop in the 2nd Congressional District in Southwest Georgia. And two Democrats in Northwest Georgia’s deep-red 14th Congressional District will vie for a chance to challenge controversial Republican incumbent Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The runoffs will take place on June 18.

3rd Congressional District

Former Donald Trump aide Brian Jack and Mike Dugan, the former Georgia state Senate majority leader, advanced to a runoff for the GOP nomination in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District south and west of Atlanta.

Jack also worked for former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He parlayed Trump’s endorsement and his Washington contacts into a fundraising lead in his first run for office. On the stump, Jack emphasized his close ties to Trump at every opportunity.

“We’re excited to share our message and grow our campaign even more over the next few weeks,” Jack said in a statement.

Dugan emphasized Republican legislative achievements when he was in the post, including cutting taxes, imposing sharp restrictions on abortion, shortening the period to request an absentee ballot and limiting ballot drop boxes.

“Mike is all in,” said spokesperson Jen Talaber Ryan. “His proven track record and deep roots in the community make him the best voice and strongest choice for west Georgians.”

The seat is open because Republican U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson is stepping down after four terms. The Republican nominee will be the favorite in a strongly GOP district south and west of Atlanta in November, facing the winner of the Democratic primary, Maura Keller.

2nd Congressional District

Two years ago, Republicans had hoped they had a chance to defeat 16-term Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop Jr. in southwest Georgia’s 2nd District. But Bishop won that election easily. Now two more Republicans will go to a runoff hoping to take a shot at Bishop, who was unopposed on the Democratic ballot.

Advancing to the runoff are Wayne Johnson, of Macon, and Chuck Hand, of Butler. Johnson was an official in the U.S. Education Department under Trump and finished third in the Republican primary two years ago. Hand is a Taylor County Republican Party official and construction superintendent who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for illegally demonstrating in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He was sentenced to 20 days in federal prison and six months of probation.

Johnson and Hand beat Michael Nixon of Thomasville, a hospital purchasing director and Air Force veteran, and Regina “Reggie” Liparoto of Columbus, a longtime conservative activist.

14th Congressional District

Two Democrats in northwest Georgia’s 14th District will compete in a runoff for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has no GOP opposition.

Advancing to the runoff are consultant Clarence Blalock, of Hiram, and retired Army general Shawn Harris, of Cedartown. They beat sales manager Deric Houston, of Dallas, and business manager Joseph Leigh, of Rossville. Harris has by far raised the most money of the four.

For most candidates, their top issue is their distaste for Greene, a top ally of Trump who recently failed in an effort to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson. The winner will have an uphill fight in a heavily Republican district. Two years ago, Democrat Marcus Flowers raised more than $16 million in his challenge to Greene but still lost badly.

WABE News contributed to this report.