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November 7, 2018

Georgia's General Election Recap

Georgia’s General Election was held yesterday to determine statewide offices and members of the United States Congress and Georgia General Assembly. Just over 60 percent of registered voters turned out to cast a ballot.

Statewide Races

As of the drafting of this memo, the race for Governor remains too close to call as Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) holds a razor thin margin over former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D). Kemp currently has 50.35 percent of the vote to Abrams’ 48.71 percent. Fifty percent plus one vote must be secured to avoid a runoff. Final ballots are still being counted.

For the state’s number two post, former State Representative Geoff Duncan (R) won the race for Lieutenant Governor over Sarah Riggs Amico (D) by a margin of 51.76 percent to 48.24 percent. Lieutenant Governor-elect Duncan will be sworn in in January.

All of Georgia’s six remaining Constitutional offices were on the ballot:

  • Attorney General: Incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr (R) retained his office by defeating challenger Charlie Bailey (D).
  • Secretary of State: Former State Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R) and former Congressman John Barrow (D) will head to a December 4 runoff as neither candidate secured 50 percent of the vote.
  • School Superintendent: Incumbent Richard Woods (R) will keep his position after defeating Otha Thornton (D).
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Incumbent Gary Black (R) will keep his position after defeating Fred Swann (D).
  • Insurance Commissioner: Jim Beck (R) defeated Janice Laws (D) and will be sworn in January.
  • Labor Commissioner: Incumbent Mark Butler (R) will keep his position after defeating Richard Keatley (D).

Two seats on the Public Service Commission were also on the ballot. The Public Service Commission regulates investor-owned utilities and helps ensure reliable and affordable service for customers in the electric, gas and telecom markets. Commissioners, while representing districts, are elected statewide.

  • District 3: Incumbent Chuck Eaton (R) will head to a runoff against Lindy Miller (D).
  • District 5: Incumbent Tricia Pridemore (R) holds a narrow lead at 50.37 percent over Dawn Randolph (D), though final tallies could force a runoff.
General Assembly Races

Of the 236 seats in the Georgia General Assembly, 23 Senate seats and 69 House seats were contested. According to the Georgia Secretary of State website as of the drafting of this memo, Democrats picked up a net total of 13 seats, two in the Senate and 11 in the House.

In the Senate, voters ousted one incumbent, Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta). Sen. Millar, who was the Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman, was defeated by Sally Harrell (D).

In the Georgia House of Representatives, voters ousted nine incumbents, seven Republicans and two Democrats: Representatives Sam Teasley (R-Marietta), Betty Price (R-Roswell), Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta), Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven), Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners), Clay Cox (R-Lilburn), Geoff Cauble (R-Locust Grove), Deborah Gonzalez (D-Athens) and Jonathan Wallace (D-Watkinsville). Rep. Teasley was the majority caucus vice-chairman and a strong advocate for RFRA.

When the legislature convenes on January 14, 2019, there will be 39 new legislators, five in the Senate and 34 in the House. Additionally, at least nine committee chairmanships will be open.

Special elections will be held on December 4 for House District 14, left vacant after former Rep. Christian Coomer was appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals in September, and House District 28, in which a judge ordered a new election after voters received the wrong ballot.

MAC Engagement

The Metro Atlanta Chamber directly engaged in the general election through two entities: MACPAC and the Georgia Coalition for Job Creation (GCJC).

MACPAC is a political action committee that supports pro-business candidates for the Georgia legislature and statewide offices.

  • Supported 136 candidates this cycle
  • 89.7 percent of those candidates won their races

GCJC is an independent expenditure committee co-managed by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, which engages in direct voter contact.

  • In the general election, GCJC engaged in one race, which it lost.
  • In the primary election, GCJC engaged in seven races, winning five.
  • In the primary runoff, GCJC engaged in two races, winning both.
Congressional Races

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), have picked up at least 26 seats, enough to regain control of the chamber. Final votes are still being tallied In the U.S. Senate, where Republicans retained control and gained two seats.

Two of Georgia’s Congressional districts were closely watched nationwide. Both are too close to call as of the drafting of this memo.

  • In the 6th Congressional district, Lucy McBath (D) holds a slight lead at 50.45 percent over incumbent Congresswoman Karen Handel (R) at 49.55 percent.
  • In the 7th Congressional district, incumbent Congressman Rob Woodall (R) holds a slight lead at 50.16 percent over Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) at 49.84 percent.

All other contested Georgia Congressional incumbents secured reelection. Congressmen John Lewis (D-5) and Austin Scott (R-8) were unopposed, and neither of Georgia’s U.S. senators were up for reelection this cycle.

 

Constitutional Amendments

 

Amendment 1 - Passed

This amendment will create the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and parks. See House Resolution 238.

 

Amendment 2 - Passed

This amendment will create a state-wide business court to lower costs, enhance efficiency, and promote predictable judicial outcomes. See House Resolution 993.

 

Amendment 3 - Passed

This amendment will encourage the conservation, sustainability, and longevity of Georgia’s working forests through tax subclassifications and grants.  See House Resolution 51.

 

Amendment 4 - Passed

This amendment will provide rights for victims of crime in the judicial process. This amendment is more commonly known as “Marsy’s Law.” See Senate Resolution 146.

 

Amendment 5 - Passed

This amendment authorizes fair allocation of sales tax proceeds to county and city school districts. See Senate Resolution 95.

 

 

Detailed results from the election are available here.

To learn more about the candidates in the General Election, please visit votemetroatl.com.

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