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No Dem challenge to Abrams as field for 2022 elections set

March 12, 2022 GMT
Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams talks to the media after qualifying for the 2022 election on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Atlanta. Abrams has no announced opposition for governor for the Democratic nomination. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams talks to the media after qualifying for the 2022 election on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Atlanta. Abrams has no announced opposition for governor for the Democratic nomination. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams talks to the media after qualifying for the 2022 election on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Atlanta. Abrams has no announced opposition for governor for the Democratic nomination. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams talks to the media after qualifying for the 2022 election on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Atlanta. Abrams has no announced opposition for governor for the Democratic nomination. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
1 of 5
Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams talks to the media after qualifying for the 2022 election on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Atlanta. Abrams has no announced opposition for governor for the Democratic nomination. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

ATLANTA (AP) — Democrat Stacey Abrams showed herself to be the unchallenged leader of her party in Georgia as candidate qualifying for the 2022 elections closed Friday, drawing no primary challengers in her bid for governor.

Three statewide Republicans will have a similarly easy path to the nomination, drawing no GOP opposition, including state Sen. Tyler Harper, who’s running for agriculture commissioner, and two incumbent public service commissioners, Fitz Johnson of Atlanta and Tim Echols of Hoschton.

Every other major party aspirant to statewide office in Georgia will face a party primary on May 25. Most notably, that includes Gov. Brian Kemp, who faces four other Republicans, including former U.S. Sen. David Perdue. Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock will take on Tamara Johnson-Shealey, who has run unsuccessfully for office four times, including in the first round of the special election in 2020 that Warnock ultimately won.

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Georgia Republican Attorney General Chris Carr picked up primary opposition from lawyer-businessman John Gordon. The challenger is expected to seek the backing of former President Donald Trump, part of an effort by the Trump forces to build out a ticket in the Republican primary that will include Perdue and U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

Democrat Patty Durand qualified to run against Echols for the Public Service Commission even though she said new districts would exclude her from a challenge. PSC candidates run statewide but are required to live in one of five districts.

At least one Republican and one Democrat is contesting each of the state’s 14 congressional districts, although redistricting made several districts less competitive.

The 6th Congressional District in the northern Atlanta suburbs and the 10th Congressional District centering on Athens will see competitive Republican primaries. Current 6th District Democratic incumbent Lucy McBath jumped into the 7th Congressional District in southern Gwinnett County to challenge that district’s current representative, Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux. The 6th became more Republican in redistricting, while the 7th became more Democratic.

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Republicans also will have a competitive field in southwest Georgia’s 2nd District, where the GOP hopes to knock off longtime Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop. In northwest Georgia’s 14th District, five Republicans and three Democrats are challenging first-term incumbent Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose extreme rhetoric has left her stripped of committee assignments in Washington and her personal Twitter account permanently banned.

“Our Republican ticket this fall will be strong, wide and deep,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer said, adding that far more Republicans had qualified for various offices than Democrats.

But Georgia Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Hogan said his party is contesting more seats than in 2018, when Democrats made broad gains in the General Assembly. “We’ve always believed no seat is too blue or too red to count out,” Hogan said in a statement.

In the 56-member state Senate, 11 Republicans and six Democrats drew no opposition, including Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, a Carrollton Republican, and first-term Democrat Nikki Merritt of Grayson. Overall, Democrats aren’t contesting 16 Republican-held districts, while Republicans aren’t contesting 13 Democratic-held districts.

In the 180-member state House, 29 Republicans and 20 Democrats drew no opposition, including Republican House Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge and Democratic House Minority Leader James Beverly of Macon. Overall there’s no Democratic or other party opposition in 50 Republican-held districts. There’s no Republican or other party opposition in 40 Democratic-held districts.

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Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.