Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will now face Democratic State Rep. Stacey Abrams in the November race for governor.
By Elaine Owen, Editor
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, President Donald Trump’s choice to become the state’s next governor, became the Republican nominee for the post on Tuesday, piling up a surprising victory over former front-runner Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
At press time, with 1,052 of 2,635 precincts reporting, Kemp had about 68 percent of the vote, with Cagle taking just under 32 percent.
Kemp’s victory is a result that few saw coming in the race’s early days, but became increasingly likely as Election Day neared, particularly once Trump weighed in.
Around 8:30 p.m., about the same time Fannin County elections results were posted, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and others analyzing the race had all called it for Kemp.
Both camps confirmed the expected outcome about 90 minutes after polls closed at 7 p.m. According to news reports, Cagle has since called Kemp to concede the race and congratulate him.
The race between Cagle and Kemp headed up Tuesday’s ballot in Fannin County. Republicans also had runoffs to decide in the lieutenant governor and secretary of state races, while Democrats finished choosing their candidate for state schools superintendent.
In the governor’s race, Cagle, who was elected Georgia’s first Republican lieutenant governor in 2006, was considered the front-runner from the day he announced his candidacy. In the May 22 primary, he took 39 percent of the vote in a five-candidate field, followed by Kemp with 26 percent.
Last week, Cagle’s chances were bolstered when Gov. Nathan Deal endorsed him.
Two days later, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce his support for Kemp. Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence visited the state, stumping on Kemp’s behalf. The president gave Kemp another Twitter boost Tuesday morning as voters were
Sosebee says, “I’ll always work for Fannin County.”
“Today is the day to vote for Brian Kemp,” Trump wrote. “Will be great for Georgia, full Endorsement!”
Kemp will now face state Rep. Stacey Abrams, who handily won the Democratic primary in May. If she is able to overcome Georgia’s nearly two-decade of Republicanism in November, Abrams, the former Democratic leader in the state House of Representatives, will become the first black woman elected governor in the nation’s history.
Local Races incomplete and unofficial until certified by the Secretary of State.
In the Post 2 Commissioner race, former Fannin County School Principal Glenn Patterson, with 2,114 votes, won over Incumbent Larry Joe Sosebee with 64.45 percent of the vote. Sosebee had 1,166 votes (35.55 percent). Patterson will now face Democrat Dixie Carter in the November General Election.
In the School Board race, newcomer Mike Cole beat out Incumbent Steve Stanley for the Republican nomination, receiving 1,703 votes (52.69 percent) to Stanley’s 1,529 votes (47.31 percent). Cole will face Democrat Susan DeMoura in the November General Election.
The November election will also see Incumbent Bobby Bearden (Republican) face Democrat challenger Jeff DePaola. Both candidates won their respective party nominations in the May Primary.
Other Races (at press time)
The Republican race for Georgia’s No. 2 position is materializing as a much closer contest.
State Sen. David Shafer is locked in a tight race in early returns with state Rep. Geoff Duncan in the race to replace Cagle as lieutenant governor. With 727 of 2,635 precincts reporting, Shafer had just over 50 percent of the vote, with Duncan getting just under 50 percent.
In Fannin County, Shafer had 1,518 votes (50.03 percent) to Duncan’s 1,516 (49.97 percent)
The winner will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico for the state’s No. 2 spot.
In the GOP race to replace Kemp as Secretary of State, David Belle Isle and Brad Raffensperger faced off with Raffensperger up 62 percent to 38 percent in early returns (at our press time). In Fannin County, Raffensperger had 1,768 votes to Belle Isle’s 1,071.
Democratic voters chose between Otha Thornton Jr. and Sid Chapman to face incumbent Republican State School Superintendent Richard Woods in the Nov. 6 General Election. Thornton led Chapman roughly 61-39 in early returns. In Fannin County, it was Chapman 57.89 percent to Thornton Jr.’s 42.11 percent.