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Runoffs set in 5 Georgia congressional primaries

June 11, 2020 GMT
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Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to a GOP women's group on March 3, 2020, in Rome, Ga. Greene is one of nine Republicans seeking her party's nomination in Georgia's 14th Congressional District on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (John Bailey/Rome News-Tribune via AP)
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Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to a GOP women's group on March 3, 2020, in Rome, Ga. Greene is one of nine Republicans seeking her party's nomination in Georgia's 14th Congressional District on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (John Bailey/Rome News-Tribune via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s next congressional delegation was coming into clearer focus after Tuesday’s voting, with Jon Ossoff winning the Democrats’ Senate primary and at least five House races heading to runoffs. House incumbents won their primaries, including Rep. John Lewis, who was nominated for an 18th term in Congress representing Atlanta.

Ossoff, a documentary producer won a majority against six other other Democrats including former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and former Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico. Ossoff will challenge Republican Sen. David Perdue in November.

At least five other congressional races will go to an Aug. 11 runoff, including battles for open seats in suburban Atlanta, northeast Georgia and northwest Georgia. Democratic Rep. David Scott, who represents suburban Atlanta, was falling short of 50% in Tuesday results in a party challenge, but exceeded that threshold in counting Wednesday, meaning he could avoid a runoff. Four other U.S. House incumbents won their primaries, including U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who was nominated for an 18th term in Congress representing Atlanta.

Voters also got their say in long-delayed presidential primaries, even though President Donald Trump and Joe Biden have wrapped up their parties’ respective nominations. Biden won Georgia’s primary, appearing alongside 11 other Democrats on ballots finalized months ago. Trump was the only choice on the Republican ballot.

Democrats hope to be competitive in both the Perdue race, as well as a November special election to fill the last two years of the term of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Sen. Kelly Loeffler currently holds that seat by appointment.

Other races include:

6TH DISTRICT

Republican Karen Handel will get her rematch with Democrat Lucy McBath. Handel won a majority of votes and the GOP nomination Tuesday over Mykel Lynn Barthelemy, Blake Harbin, Joe Profit and Paulette Smith. Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, won a bloody special election over Ossoff in 2017, only to lose narrowly to McBath in 2018. The 6th District includes northern Fulton and DeKalb counties and eastern Cobb County. McBath faced no opponents for the Democratic nomination.

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7TH DISTRICT

Both Republicans and Democrats had competitive primaries for the 7th District seat of GOP Rep. Rob Woodall, who isn’t seeking another term.

On the Republican side, Rich McCormick beat state Sen. Renee Unterman and five other candidates to win the GOP nomination. McCormick is backed by the free-trade, anti-regulation Club for Growth. Unterman emphasized her experience.

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux was the top vote-getter for her party, but fell short of a majority. She’ll face state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero in a runoff. If Bourdeaux wins, she’ll get another shot at the seat in parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties that she lost to Woodall by fewer than 500 votes in 2018.

9TH DISTRICT

State Rep. Matt Gurtler and Athens gun dealer Andrew Clyde advanced to a Republican runoff, outpacing seven other candidates for the 9th District seat being opened by Rep. Doug Collins, who chose to challenge Loeffler for Senate.

Gurtler has been an irritant to his party’s leaders, frequently voting against measures that almost all other lawmakers approved in the state House. He’s backed by the free-trade, low-tax Club for Growth, but criticized for speaking to American Patriots USA, which includes members with a history of white supremacy.

Clyde won a court challenge and helped win congressional restrictions on asset forfeiture after he had $940,00 seized in 2013 by the IRS.

Brooke Siskin and Devin Pandy advanced to the Democratic runoff in the northeast Georgia district, which has been one of the nation’s most reliably Republican seats.

13TH DISTRICT

Scott, a nine-term incumbent, was threatened with a runoff by former state Rep. Keisha Sean Waites, who touted her credentials as an emergency manager and her bipartisan approach. Scott’s share of the vote expanded in counting Wednesday, meaning he may escape an additional Aug. 11 election by amassing a majority. Republicans in this metro-Atlanta district chose business consultant Becky Hites over engineer Caesar Gonzales.

14TH DISTRICT

Businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and neurosurgeon John Cowan, both Republicans, moved to a runoff in northwest Georgia’s 14th District from a nine-person field. Greene had sought the GOP nomination in the 6th District, but entered this race after Republican Rep. Tom Graves announced he was stepping down. She spent much of her own money on the campaign, proclaiming herself an unfair victim when Facebook took down an ad that included Greene brandishing a gun. Cowan was one of the field’s top money-raisers. He pushed his healthcare expertise but was criticized over company he owns that imports toys from China. The Republican nominee will face Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal.

OTHER CONGRESSIONAL RACES

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter rolled over challengers Danny Merritt and Ken Yasger in the Republican primary in the coastal 1st District, while Democrats Lisa Ring and Joyce Marie Griggs advanced to a runoff.

In southwest Georgia’s 2nd District, GOP activists Don Cole beat Vivian Childs and will face longtime incumbent Democrat Sanford Bishop.

Incumbent Democrat Hank Johnson beat two primary challengers — contractor William Haston and attorney Elaine Amankwah Nietmann — in suburban Atlanta’s 4th District.

Civil rights leader and 17-term representative John Lewis routed Barrington Martin II in the Democratic primary in Atlanta’s 5th District.

In middle and south Georgia’s 8th District, incumbent Republican Austin Scott easily beat Army veteran Daniel Ellyson and business owner Robert Vance Dean in a GOP primary.

In eastern Georgia’s 10th District, Democrats chose 2018 nominee Tabitha Johnson-Green over Andrew Ferguson to face incumbent Republican Jody Hice.

Liz Johnson, 2018′s Democratic nominee for state insurance commissioner, beat retired attorney Dan Steiner in the Democratic primary in eastern Georgia’s 12th District. Incumbent Republican Rick Allen awaits the winner.

STATE SUPREME COURT

Incumbent Justice Sarah Warren beat Dougherty County prosecutor and former local judge Hal Moroz, while former state Rep. Beth Beskin lost to incumbent Justice Charlie Bethel.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

Environmental advocate Daniel Blackman beat energy efficiency consultant John Noel in the race for the Democratic nomination for the state Public Service Commission. Although the two must live in District 4, which covers northern and eastern parts of Georgia, the race was on the ballot statewide. Blackman lost to incumbent Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonald in 2014, while Noel lost a Democratic primary for the utility regulatory commission in a different district in 2018.