Georgia’s primary election included several key, state-level races, including governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The closest races were for the Republican nominations for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
According to the Georgia Secretary of State website, 239,281 early ballots were cast as of Friday, May 16, for the primary election. Another 400,061 ballots were cast at the polls Tuesday. Of Georgia’s 5,039,838 registered voters, only 7.94 percent of voters participated in this year’s state primary.
Gov. Nathan Deal faced off against fellow Republicans John Barge and David Pennington and appeared to be the clear winner for the Republican nomination with 71.83 percent of the vote with 42 counties reporting. Deal is seeking his second term as governor. He will face Jason Carter, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, District 1, showed an early lead against former Dollar General CEO David Perdue and Karen Handel for the senate seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring. As more results came in, however, a run-off seemed almost certain between Kingston and Perdue. In Liberty County, voters threw their support behind Kingston. At the Courier’s 9:45 p.m. press time, he led in the county with 80.17 percent of the vote.
Neither candidate had 50 percent of the vote with 42 counties reporting. Statewide, Kingston had 28.70 percent and Perdue had 30.13 percent. Attempts to reach Kingston for comments about a possible run-off were unsuccessful.
In the Democratic primary, Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, appeared an easy winner for her party’s nomination, garnering more than 75 percent of the votes.
District 1 State Sen. Buddy Carter also seemed to be facing a run-off with either John McCallum or Dr. Bob Johnson. Despite that possibility, Carter was upbeat about his campaign and his prospects of winning the Republican nomination.
“We’re really, really proud,” Carter said from his watch party in Savannah. “We’ve run such a district-wide campaign. I don’t think there’s any other candidate in this race who has run the kind of race that we’ve run. We’ve gotten donations from every county in the district. Nobody else comes even close to that. Eighty-two percent of our money has come from within the district.”
At press time, Carter had received 30.54 percent of the vote with six of 17 counties reporting. McCallum had received 22.97 percent of the votes. In Liberty County, though, Carter carried 54.05 percent of the vote at 9:45 p.m.
B.L. “Ben” Watson is running unopposed for the Republican nomination for state senate, District 1, which is open by Carter running for the U.S. House seat. There is no Democrat running for this office.
A run-off might also be necessary for the Democratic nomination for U.S. House of Representatives, District 1. Brian Reese, Marc Smith and Amy Tavio gained no more than two or three percentage points more than the others. With 42 of 159 counties reporting, Smith was ahead of Tavio 35.56 percent to 33.04 percent.