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Beyond GOP governor runoff, 5 big races on Georgia ballots

July 22, 2018 GMT

The Republican showdown in the Georgia governor’s race isn’t the only primary election that voters still need to settle before the fall campaigns begin.

As GOP voters make a choice in runoff elections Tuesday between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the party’s nominating contest to succeed departing Gov. Nathan Deal, they also have to settle Republican runoffs for the two statewide offices Cagle and Kemp are vacating.

Democratic voters, meanwhile, will pick a nominee to challenge Georgia’s GOP state school superintendent in November, in addition to selecting Democratic opponents for two Republican congressmen.

Here’s a look at the down-ballot runoff races in Georgia.

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LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Two former Republican colleagues from the Georgia legislature are waging a heated runoff race to win the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor.

State Sen. David Shafer of Duluth has served at the state Capitol since 2002 and once was the Senate’s president pro tempore. Former Rep. Geoff Duncan of Cumming spent five years in the House. They’re competing for a chance to succeed Cagle in the state’s No. 2 elected officer, whose main job is to be preside over the Senate.

Shafer has promoted scrapping Georgia’s income tax and replacing it with a state sales tax. Duncan has cast himself as an outsider, despite his time as a state lawmaker, and accused Shafer of profiting from his 16 years in office.

The runoff winner will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico, a Marietta businesswoman, in the November general election.

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SECRETARY OF STATE

A Republican lawmaker and a former Georgia mayor are facing off for a shot at becoming the state’s top elections official.

Former Alpharetta mayor David Belle Isle and state Rep. Brad Raffensperger of Johns Creek were the top vote getters in a four-way GOP primary May 22 for secretary of state. The job is currently held by Kemp, who passed on seeking re-election in order to run for governor.

Both candidates have said upgrading Georgia’s electronic voting machines for improved security is their top priority.

The secretary of state’s office oversees elections in Georgia as well as corporate filings and professional licensing.

The Republican runoff winner will advance to the fall campaign against Democrat John Barrow of Athens, a former Georgia congressman seeking a political comeback after losing his seat in 2014.

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SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT

One served as president of a major advocacy group for Georgia teachers. The other once headed the National PTA. Both are running as Democrats for the office of state school superintendent.

Sid Chapman of Griffin and Otha Thornton Jr. of Richmond Hill are competing for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican School Superintendent Richard Woods in the November general election.

Chapman is a former classroom teacher as well as a past president of the Georgia Association of Educators. He’s been endorsed by former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes.

Thornton is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who became the first black man named president of the National PTA in 2013. Arne Duncan, who served as education secretary under President Barack Obama, has endorsed Thornton.

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CONGRESSIONAL RUNOFFS

Voters in metro Atlanta are picking Democratic challengers for two of Georgia’s Republican congressmen.

In the 6th Congressional District, Kevin Abel of Sandy Springs faces fellow Democrat Lucy McBath of Marietta. Able owns a technology consulting company. McBath is a gun control activist whose teenage son was fatally shot in Florida in 2012.

The runoff winner will challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, whose victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election last year capped a $50 million campaign that was the most expensive U.S. House race in history.

A Democratic runoff in the neighboring 7th Congressional District pits Carolyn Bourdeaux of Suwanee against David Kim of Duluth. Bourdeaux is a professor and former director of the state Senate Budget and Evaluation Office. Kim publishes books and magazines for teenagers.

The winning Democrat will face GOP Rep. Rob Woodall in the fall election.