Georgia’s 2018 primary elections Tuesday will feature several marquee races that Democrats have their eyes on this fall.
First, there’s the state’s open governorship. Democrats face a primary pitting the “two Staceys” — Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans — against each other, while the GOP faces a more crowded race to succeed Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. Second, there are two key congressional races in suburban districts near Atlanta, for which Democrats will choose their nominees to take on Republican incumbents.
Georgia’s been a red state for a very long time, but Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Georgia by just 5.2 percentage points — a smaller margin of victory than any Republican presidential nominee in the seat since 1996. That’s given Democrats some hope that they could pull off one or more unexpected victories here this fall.
Polls close at 7 pm Eastern. Live results will be posted below.
Georgia’s governor primary: an open seat up for grabs
Update: Stacey Abrams is projected to win the Democratic primary. Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp will head to a runoff in the Republican primary.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is term-limited, so both parties have competitive contests for the nomination to replace him. It’s a red state, albeit one that’s been getting less red of late, so while the GOP nominee will be the favorite, Democrats do hold out some hopes of picking it up.
For Democrats, former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is running against state Rep. Stacey Evans for the nomination. The race has gotten a lot of buzz, though, as Vox’s Matt Yglesias writes, it’s tough to impose a simplistic narrative such as “establishment versus outsider” on it.
For Republicans, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is the establishment favorite, with his nearest rival expected to be Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Also running are state Sen. Michael Williams (who’s gotten some press for his “deportation bus” idea), former state Sen. Hunter Hill, business executive Clay Tippins, and restaurant owner Eddie Hayes. If no candidate tops 50 percent of the vote there will be a runoff election.
Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District Democratic primary: who will take on Karen Handel?
Update: Lucy McBath is projected to be one of two candidates in a runoff.
Georgia’s Sixth District should be familiar to Democrats because it was the site of an expensive, high-profile congressional special election in 2017. In the end, Republicans held on to the seat, as now-Rep. Karen Handel triumphed over Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff.
Though Trump won this traditionally Republican district by just 1.5 points in 2016, Handel pulled out the special election last June by a 4 percentage point margin. So Democrats are hoping Ossoff just wasn’t the right fit, and that a different nominee could give them a better chance at taking the seat.
Running for Democrats are IT consulting firm co-founder Kevin Abel, former local TV anchor Bobby Kaple, gun control activist Lucy McBath, and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyst Steven Knight Griffin. A runoff will ensue on July 24 if no one tops 50 percent.
Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District Democratic primary: a suburban district that typifies what Democrats are targeting in red states
Update: Carolyn Bourdreaux and David Kim are projected to go to a runoff.
Rep. Rob Woodall, first elected to Congress in 2010, is the incumbent in Georgia’s Seventh District (though Marine veteran Shane Hazel is challenging him from the right). Trump won this suburban district by a little over 6 points, and Democrats have viewed Woodall as a potential reach target.
The Democratic primary is crowded and their field is diverse. Six candidates — tutoring business founder David Kim, Georgia State professor Carolyn Bourdeaux, small-business owner Ethan Pham, consultant Kathleen Allen, financial manager Melissa Davis, and lawyer Steve Reilly — are in the race.
Bourdreaux, Kim, and Pham are the leading fundraisers, with Kim putting in more than half a million dollars of his own money and Bourdeaux winning the endorsement of Emily’s List, which helps elect Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights. A runoff will be held on July 24 if no candidate tops 50 percent, and with so many candidates in the race, that seems likely to happen.