Georgia’s 2020 Primary Election Results

The 2020 Georgia Primary is behind us. Unfortunately, in some respects, the administrative process has overshadowed the results. Adjusting to the new normal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, problems with getting absentee ballots to folks wishing to vote by mail, a new electronic voting machine system, difficulties with training new poll workers, and long lines and delays at Primary Election Day precincts have led to finger pointing between the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and local county election boards. All of this will need to be worked out before the November General Election.

There are still thousands of absentee votes still to be counted statewide so many close races are still in play. With that said, here are some of the more interesting election results from Tuesday’s primary that we know at the present time:

Presidential Primary

As expected, Joe Biden won handily with 83% in the Democratic Primary. Still, Bernie Sanders received 10% despite having dropped out of the race and conceding in March.

US Senate — Democratic Primary

Despite a crowded seven way primary, Jon Ossoff has a commanding lead hovering back and forth at the needed 50% + 1 position to avoid a runoff against his second place rival former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson at 15%. If late returns cannot push him over 50%, he will be forced into an August 11th runoff against Tomlinson. The winner will take on incumbent Senator David Perdue in November.

Contested Supreme Court Races

Two Supreme Court appointees by former Governor Nathan Deal beat back challenges to win a full term. Justice Sarah Warren easily won with 78% while Justice Charlie Bethel beat back a strong challenge from former State Representative Beth Beskin 53% to 47%.

Congressional Races

Georgia has three open congressional races — the 7th in Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties, the 9th in the mountains of North Georgia, and the 14th in Northwest Georgia. The 7th is most likely to be a close race in November given the fact that retiring Republican Rob Woodall only squeaked to re-election in 2018 by a few hundred votes.  Woodall’s 2018 Democratic challenger Georgia State Professor Carolyn Bourdeaux holds a commanding lead in a crowded race over second place finisher State Representative Brenda Romero, 46 to 14%. A runoff between Bordeaux and Romero will be held August 11th. On the Republican side, former Army doctor Rich McCormick won his crowded primary with 55%.

In the 9th Congressional race, State Representative Matt Gurtler and Gun Store Owner Andrew Clyde, with 22 and 19% respectively, edged out a crowded Republican field for runoff spots on August 11th. The winner of the runoff will face Brooke Siskin in November in this historically overwhelmingly Republican district.  

In the 14th Congressional Race, Tea Party favorite Marjorie Greene and Rome Doctor John Cowan are headed to a Republican Party runoff August 11th. There is no Democrat running in November.

One other Congressional race is likely to draw attention in November. Former Republican Congresswoman Karen Handel won her primary easily to set up a rematch against Congresswoman Lucy McBath in the 6th Congressional District. McBath defeated Handel in 2018.

State Legislative Races

Several incumbent legislators — including Democratic Senator Ed Harbison and Republicans Brandon Beach and Jeff Mullis, as well as House Minority Leader Bob Trammell — faced stiff primary opponents on Tuesday but appear to have beat back their challengers. However, Brunswick Republican Representative Jeff Jones was defeated by Buddy DeLoach, and five term Conyers Democrat Representative Pam Dickerson was beaten by newcomer Sharon Henderson. Also, three longtime Democratic Representatives Sharon Beasley-Teague and Michele Henson and Democratic Senator Horacena Tate were forced into runoffs for the first time in many years.

While many incumbents faced tough reelections, one veteran high profile legislator is making a return. Former State Representative and 2016 Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Evans won a decisive primary victory in an Atlanta State House district. She has no Democratic opponent in the fall.  

Fulton County District Attorney Incumbent Paul Howard, who has run unopposed for Fulton County District Attorney since 2000, is currently trailing to primary challenger Fani Willis. Neither of the two are likely to break the 50% mark, Willis with 41% of the vote and Howard with 34% of the vote, and will be headed to a runoff.

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Edward H. Lindsey Jr.

About Edward H. Lindsey Jr.

Edward Lindsey is a partner in Dentons' Public Policy practice and serves as the head of the Firm's Georgia State Government Affairs team. His focus is on advancing the public policy interests and objectives of clients in the transportation, infrastructure, health care and education sectors.

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Eric Tanenblatt

About Eric Tanenblatt

Eric Tanenblatt is the Global Chair of Public Policy and Regulation of Dentons, the world's largest law firm. He also leads the firm's US Public Policy Practice, leveraging his three decades of experience at the very highest levels of the federal and state governments.

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Sharon Gay

About Sharon Gay

Sharon Gay is a Senior Counsel in the Public Policy practice. She concentrates her practice in state and local government law, particularly in the areas of land use and zoning, tax allocation district financing and other economic development incentives, transportation, public-private partnerships and political law.

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Dan Baskerville

About Dan Baskerville

Dan Baskerville specializes in state and local government affairs and has 20 years of experience representing clients at the Georgia General Assembly. He has extensive experience and knowledge of local government issues, especially in relation to local governments within the metro-Atlanta region.

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Elmer Stancil

About Elmer Stancil

Elmer Stancil is a member of Dentons' Public Policy practice. A highly respected communicator, presenter and team player, Elmer brings to the group's Georgia Public Policy team over a decade of government experience in the areas of economic development and transportation planning, including, most recently as a Deputy Executive Director for Georgia's State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) and before that as Director of Government Relations and Policy with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDED).

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Samuel Olens

About Samuel Olens

Samuel S. Olens is a partner in Dentons' Public Policy practice and is a member of the firm's State Attorneys General group, based in the Atlanta office. His practice focuses on state attorneys general and local government affairs matters.

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Crawford G. Schneider

Crawford G. Schneider

Ceasar C. Mitchell, Jr.

About Ceasar C. Mitchell, Jr.

Ceasar C. Mitchell, Jr. is a member of the Public Policy team and head of the firm’s interdisciplinary Local Government Solutions practice, a service that bridges the public and private sectors to meet the challenges facing US local and state governments. Ceasar represents a mix of private sector and government entities in arranging public funding for the acquisition, construction and redevelopment of new and existing multi-family housing and mixed-use projects. He also represents financial institutions in crafting financing solutions for commercial and residential land acquisitions and development, construction, capital improvements, working capital, equipment and debt restructuring.

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Steve Labovitz

About Steve Labovitz

Steve Labovitz focuses on government affairs at a local, state and federal level, with an emphasis on legislative action, economic development, public finance, privatization and government efficiency. He has extensive experience in formulating public-private partnerships for companies that have business issues with the government sector and governments that are interested in privatization or outsourcing governmental tasks.

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