Senate minority leader holds off Democratic challenger

Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson narrowly held off his first primary challenger in 16 years Tuesday, sending him back to the chamber for his ninth consecutive term.

Henson received 50.42 percent of the vote, with his opponent, Sabrina McKenzie, falling just short with 49.58 percent. The two were separated by only 115 votes, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office.

Henson has served in the Senate for 24 years, first spending eight years in the chamber before leaving in 1998 to run unsuccessfully for labor commissioner. The Stone Mountain resident returned in 2002 and has been the Senate’s minority leader since 2011.

It was Henson’s first primary challenge since returning to office in 2002.

McKenzie, an ordained minister who teaches liturgical dance, is making her second bid to win a legislative seat.

The 47-year-old New York native, who moved to the Atlanta area in 1989 to attend Morris Brown College, ran for the state Senate in a different district in 2004, coming in third in a seven-way race. 

No Republican is running in the district, so Henson will automatically win the November election and return to the Senate next year.

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