Georgia Primaries Bring Expected Congressional Runoffs

Clark Byron

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Tuesday’s primary election results brought runoffs for candidates for both houses of Congress. Runoffs are required in Georgia when the winning candidate in a primary fails to garner 50 percent or more of the overall vote.

In the Republican primary for Senate, businessman David Purdue led the pack by collecting 30.6 percent of the vote with 184,438. Perdue is the cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and a member of the Georgia Ports Authority. He is also former CEO at Dollar General and Reebok. Congressman Jack Kingston from Savannah, who has served 22 years in Congress, attracted 25.8 percent with 155,443. Both candidates are running for the senate seat being vacated by Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss.

Following Kingston with a respectable third place showing was former Georgia Secretary of State, Karen Handel, at 22 percent with 132,427 votes. 

On the Democratic side, Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, soundly trounced her opposition by winning 75 percent of the vote.

In the race for the District 1 House of Representatives, Georgia State Senator Earl “Buddy” Carter will runoff against second-place finisher, Dr. Bob Johnson. Carter led the pachyderm pack with 36.2 percent of the vote with 18,595 votes. Johnson, a surgeon and former U.S. Army Ranger who bills himself as a Christian conservative candidate, attracted 22.7 percent with 11,885 votes, squeezing by businessman and former Gingrich aide, John McCallum, by just 1,175 votes.

In the District 4 House primary, where no Republicans ran, Democratic incumbent Hank Johnson won over challenger Tom Brown, the DeKalb County Sheriff, by a margin of 54.7 to 43.5 percent.

In the 10th, 11th and 12th Districts, where no Democrats ran in the primaries, two of those elections resulted in Republican runoffs. 

In District 10, minister and radio talk show host Jody Hice won 33.5 percent of the electorate with 17,378 votes. Hice will have to face second-place finisher, businessman Mike Collins, who trailed Hice by just 270 votes.

The District 11 runoff will include first-place finisher, State Representative Barry Loudermilk, with 36.6 percent or 20,708 votes, and closest runner up, former District 7 Congressman Bob Barr with 25.8 percent with 14,596 votes. Barr lost his previous seat in the House in 1993, when new district lines were drawn that eliminated his seat.

The 12th District’s clear winner was Tea Party favorite Rick Allen, with 54 percent of the vote at 25,007.

In the high-profile race for Governor, incumbent Governor Nathan Deal pulled a full 72.1 percent of the vote over his challengers, Dalton businessman David Pennington, and Georgia State School Superintendent John Barge, who collected 16.7 and 11.1 percent, respectively. The Democratic candidate for Governor, State Senator Jason Carter, ran unopposed.

The runoff elections are slated for July 22 and the general elections, November 4.