Friday June 24th, 2022 5:50PM

Georgia Democrats look to settle statewide races in runoffs

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) — Democrats on Tuesday were settling multiple statewide races and congressional primaries, including races where Stacey Abrams had endorsed other members of her party that she wants on the ticket as she runs for governor. There were three Republican congressional runoffs, including two in heavily Republican districts. Two Democratic congressional runoffs featured a frontrunner who lost to a Republican in 2020 but wanted another shot. Finally, there were 11 state legislative runoffs, including one Republican incumbent and one Democratic incumbent in the state House who failed to win majorities in the May 24 primary.

Here's a look at the races:


Former Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall led all candidates in the May 24 primary, despite a low-profile, low-dollar campaign. Second-place finisher Charlie Bailey, who was the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2018, is trying to overtake Hall, backed by Democratic leaders including Abrams.

The winner will take on Republican state Sen. Burt Jones, who triumphed in the May 24 primary after being endorsed by Trump.

Bailey had been running for attorney general again but shifted into the lieutenant governor's race. Bailey has been promising to work with Abrams to cover uninsured adults, improve education and increase public safety. Bailey has been attacking 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 says he did nothing wrong.

Hall, who also served out the last month of the late John Lewis' term in Congress, enjoys strong name recognition from his time on City Council. He argues his time on the City Council has prepared him to work with Republicans. Hall has focused on economic empowerment, calling for the state to set aside 30% of contracts for minority and women-owned business. Hall said he wants to legalize marijuana and steer resulting business opportunities toward minority communities.


State Rep. William Boddie Jr. and entrepreneur Nicole Horn both have focused on overhauling the state Labor Department, beset by complaints when Georgia's unemployment rate hit a record during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incumbent Republican Mark Butler isn't seeking reelection and the GOP has nominated state Sen. Bruce Thompson of White.

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. Horn has said her business experience would allow her to be an effective manager.

Both criticize Republicans for pulling Georgia out of the federal program that extended unemployment benefits months before the federal program expired.

Abrams endorsed Boddie.


Insurance salesman Raphael Baker and 2018 Democratic nominee Janice Laws Robinson seek the Democratic nomination for insurance commissioner. The winner 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 said she would also crack down on insurers taking advantage of policy buyers through unfair underwriting practices.

Baker, a Democratic activist, also said he wants to lower auto insurance rates. He said Black consumers, in particular, pay too much, and he wants to make insurance practices more equitable. Baker also said he would focus on education about insurance and safe driving practices.


Republicans are settling three congressional nominations. In the 10th Congressional District, east of Atlanta, trucking company owner Mike Collins easily beat former Democrat Vernon Jones in a bitter runoff. Trump backed Jones, but Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, fresh off a primary triumph over Trump-endorsed David Perdue, joined other GOP officeholders in backing Collins.

In the 6th District in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, emergency room physician Rich McCormick is trying to hold off Trump-backed lawyer Jake Evans. That race has 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, Republicans have high hopes of knocking off 30-year Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop. The GOP is choosing between former Army officer Jeremy Hunt and real estate developer Chris West in that race.

In suburban Atlanta's 7th District, frontrunner Mark Gonsalves is trying to clinch a Republican majority against Michael Corbin.


In coastal Georgia's 1st District, Joyce Marie Griggs is relying on a grassroots approach to persuade Democrats to choose her again to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter after Griggs, a disbarred lawyer, lost to Carter in 2020. Lawyer Wade Herring has outspent Griggs, telling Democrats that he would have a better chance of upsetting Carter.

In the 10th District, Tabitha Johnson-Green is trying to become the Democratic nominee for the third cycle in a row, having lost to departing incumbent Jody Hice in 2018 and 2020. Athens real estate agent and musician Jessica Fore is trying to overtake Johnson-Green.


One state Senate and 10 state House seats will see party nominations settled.

Banker Mike Hodges and former state House member Jeff Jones will contend 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 are two incumbents who didn't win majorities on May 24 and must win runoffs Tuesday to keep their chances of reelection alive. Republican incumbent Sheri Gilligan, a sometime critic of House Speaker David Ralston, is opposed by Carter Barrett in House District 24 in southwestern Forsyth County. Democratic incumbent Roger Bruce is vying with Rashaun Kemp in House District 61 in southern Fulton and northeastern Douglas counties.

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