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Trump-endorsed candidates get mixed results
Election results
Election results

ATLANTA – One of Georgia’s down-ballot candidates backed by former President Donald Trump was threatening to capture the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor without a runoff, while another running for secretary of state was fighting to force a second round.

With about 80% of the vote counted at 11:15 p.m., state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, was leading Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, R-Jackson, 50.6% to 31%. Jones, boosted by Trump’s endorsement, would avoid a June 21 runoff with Miller if he remains above the 50%-plus-one margin needed under state law to win the GOP nomination outright.

The Democrats, however, were certainly headed for a runoff to decide their candidate for lieutenant governor. Former Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall was in the lead with 29.3% of the vote, to 17.3% for second-place Charlie Bailey.

In the race for secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, who drew Trump’s ire when he refused to cooperate with the then-president’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, was in position to avoid a runoff with 51.3% of the vote. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, Trump’s pick, was in second place at 34.2%.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Bee Nguyen of Atlanta appeared headed for a runoff for her party’s nomination for secretary of state. She was in the lead with 42.1% of the vote, far ahead of former state Rep. Dee Dawkins Haigler’s 19%, but not far enough to avoid a runoff.

Trump’s influence didn’t count for much in the Republican race for attorney general. Incumbent Chris Carr handily defeated John Gordon, who was endorsed by the former president.

Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan of Atlanta won her party’s nomination to challenge Carr in November, easily besting Christian Wise Smith.

Another Trump-backed candidate to come up short was Patrick Witt, who ran a distant second to incumbent Republican Insurance Commissioner John King.

Another incumbent Republican, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, trounced former Superintendent John Barge in that GOP primary.

State Sen. Bruce Thompson, R-White, bested former state Rep. Mike Coan in the Republican primary for commissioner of labor. Incumbent Labor Commissioner Mark Butler is not seeking reelection.

The primary picture was less clear for the Democrats, as several down-ballot races appeared headed for runoffs.

Realtor and cut-flower farmer Nakita Hemingway appeared likely to avoid a runoff for the Democratic nomination for agriculture commissioner with 55.3% of the vote to 29.4% for state Rep. Winfred Dukes of Albany.

Also, former state Rep. Alisha Thomas Searcy had the inside track to win the Democratic nod for state school superintendent outright. She was leading with 57% of the vote, while the other three candidates in the race were in the teens.

However, the Democratic contests for insurance commissioner and labor commissioner were in doubt.

Janice Laws Robinson, who is in the insurance business was leading the insurance commissioner’s race with 48.8% of the vote. But with 77% of the vote counted, she wasn’t likely to get over the threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

The crowded Democratic primary for labor commissioner was even more likely to end up with a runoff. The leader, state Rep. William Boddie of East Point had received only 27.6% of the vote to 24.4% for businesswoman Nicole Horn.

While Democratic races were tight, several down-ballot Republicans won their party nominations without opposition, including state Sen. Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla, who is running for Georgia agriculture commissioner.

The two Republicans seeking reelection to the state Public Service Commission also captured GOP nominations unopposed: Tim Echols in District 2 and Fitz Johnson in District 3.

Consumer advocate Patty Durand appeared to be the winner of the Democratic nomination in PSC District 2. However, she has been waging a court battle to stay on the ballot because of questions over whether she meets the residency requirement. An emergency court ruling Tuesday allowed her to remain on the ballot.

Small business owner Sheila Edwards appeared to avoid a runoff in the District 3 PSC race on the Democratic side. She was leading with 55.5% of the vote in a three-way contest.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.