Political Insider

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Georgia incumbents rack up a string of wins in Tuesday primary

Updated 11:47 p.m.: The AP called the U.S. Senate Democratic primary for Jim Barksdale, the political rookie and party favorite.

Updated 10:26 p.m.: To recap, five of Georgia's congressional incumbents appear to have secured their tickets back to Congress next year.

Republicans Buddy Carter of Pooler (1st District), Doug Collins of Gainesville (9th District), Jody Hice of Monroe (10th District) and Tom Graves of Ranger (14th District) won their primary bids based on unofficial election returns. Ditto for Atlanta Democrat David Scott in the 13th District. Since the five lawmakers don’t face opponents in the general election in November, that means they’re good to go for the 115th Congress that convenes in January.

Eight other Georgia U.S. House members, as well as U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, will be back on the ballot in November.

We’re still waiting to hear results from the Democratic U.S. Senate contest, as well both the Republican and Democratic primaries in the 3rd District.

Updated 10:14 p.m.: Cassville Republican Barry Loudermilk appears to have avoided a July runoff in the 11th Congressional District, according to the AP. The freshman lawmaker defeated four challengers who all tried to frame the House Freedom Caucus member as insufficiently conservative.

Updated 9:46 p.m.: The crowded Republican primary for the open 3rd District Congressional seat is still too close to call but could head toward a runoff based on early returns.

Unofficial results show dentist and former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson, state Sen. Mike Crane and Peachtree City businessman Jim Pace locked in a three-way battle for the seat long held by Lynn Westmoreland.

A runoff would occur July 26 if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

The winner of the GOP race will then face the victor from Tuesday’s Democratic primary in November. The latter contest, which pitted Newnan pastor Tamarkus Cook against Grantville volunteer Angela Pendley, is also too close to call all the moment.

The Republican nominee is heavily favored to ultimately win the seat in this deep-red district, which voted for Mitt Romney by a margin of 2:1 in 2012.

Updated: 9:35 p.m. Georgia statehouse leaders breeze, but big business misses on Turner

Updated 9:30 p.m.: Dax Lopez, the DeKalb State Court judge criticized by his rival for being Jewish, is leading his race by a 2-1 margin.

Updated 9:02 p.m.: Add Republican U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, to the winners' list. The Associated Press has declared Scott the winner in his 8th District primary.

Updated 8:55 p.m.: Now we're getting somewhere. The Associated Press has called the 9th District for Doug Collins, the incumbent Republican who faced four candidates, including former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun in Tuesday's primary. With just two of 20 counties reporting, Collins was leading with 61.56 percent. He'll be returning to Washington later this year since there are no Democrats running in the 9th.

Updated 8:53 p.m.: We've got our first solid results, as The Associated Press has declared Johnny Isakson the (non-surprise) winner of the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. The news service has also called the GOP races in the 12th and 14th districts, which Republican incumbents Rick Allen and Tom Graves, respectively, winning handily.

Updated 8:46 p.m.: Johnny Isakson trounces rivals to win Georgia GOP Senate nod

Updated 8:40 p.m.: As you're waiting for returns to come in, watch the AJC political team break down the results. (Or lack thereof.)

Updated 7:53 p.m.: Results are trickling in slowly. From very early results, all of Georgia's incumbents are in control, although Democrat Jim Barksdale, the party's chosen candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson in November, is stuck in a tough fight. But, again, it's terribly early.

Updated 7:15 p.m.: An unsuccessful state House candidate from last year has some timely advice for the dozens of contenders bound to go home unhappy tonight.


It's 7 p.m. in Georgia and polls are closing on this primary day, meaning it's officially time for incumbents to start sweating.

Watch this space as the night unfolds for updates on the key state and federal primaries.

Key questions we're watching: How high does incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson go against two opponents? Does Jim Barksdale emerge on the Democratic side without a runoff?

Do incumbent Republicans Barry Loudermilk and Doug Collins survive multi-challenger contests in Georgia's 11th and 9th districts, respectively? Are one or both forced into runoffs?

Who emerges from the pack in the 3rd District, where Lynn Westmoreland's retirement set off a free-for-all campaign on the GOP side?

On the state level, do any of the dozen top lawmakers with primary opponents get knocked off?

Stay tuned ...

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.