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 lost his bid for secretary of state.
With about 95% of the vote counted, state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, was leading Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, 50.1% to 31.1%. Jones, boosted by Trump’s endorsement, would avoid a June 21 runoff 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 30.1% of the vote, to 17.7% 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, avoided a runoff by winning 52.3% of the vote. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, Trump’s pick, finished second in a four-way race at 33.4%.
On the Democratic side, state Rep. Bee Nguyen of Atlanta will be in a runoff for her party’s nomination for secretary of state. She was in the lead with 44.3% of the vote, far ahead of former state Rep. Dee Dawkins Haigler’s 18.7%, 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.
Realtor and cut-flower farmer Nakita Hemingway captured the Democratic nomination for agriculture commissioner with 56.2% of the vote to 28.6% for state Rep. Winfred Dukes of Albany.
Also, former state Rep. Alisha Thomas Searcy won the Democratic nod for state school superintendent with 57% of the vote in a four-way race.
The Democratic contests for insurance commissioner and labor commissioner were headed for runoffs.
Janice Laws Robinson, who is in the insurance business was leading the insurance commissioner’s race with 48.7% of the vote. Raphael Baker finished second to make the runoff with 33.1%.
In the crowded Democratic primary for labor commissioner, state Rep. William Boddie of East Point edged businesswoman Nicole Horn 27.6% to 25.1%. The two will square off again in the June 21 runoff.
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 won the Democratic nomination in PSC District 2 despite an order to remove her from the ballot that was posted at some precincts. 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 won the District 3 PSC primary on the Democratic side with 54.7% 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.