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What to watch for in Georgia’s primary runoff elections

Georgia voters will head back to the polls on Tuesday, and while most of the Peach State’s primary action was decided back in May, a trio of results will help shape the future makeup of the state’s congressional delegation.

There is no U.S. Senate or governor’s race in Georgia this year, but there is still plenty of action in battles for the state’s 14 House districts. Here are three primary elections that will be decided on Tuesday.

Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District (Republican)

Former Georgia state Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan likely faces long odds against Trump-endorsed candidate Brian Jack in this solidly Republican area.

Dugan spent a decade in the Georgia General Assembly and won his home of Carroll County on primary day. But Jack, a former Trump White House political director, won every other county in the west-central Georgia district.

Not only that, Jack has since picked up endorsements from the third- and fourth-place finishers, Mike Crane and Philip Singleton, respectively, and has raised more money than Dugan, putting him in the driver’s seat to win the runoff.

Jack hasn’t spent much of his adult life in the 3rd District and got into the race late. He has instead plastered the area with ads and yard signs reading “Trump Endorsed” above his name. It may be enough to get him the party’s nomination to replace retiring Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA).

The winner will face Democrat Maura Keller in the general election.

Georgia’s 14th Congressional District (Democratic)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is a controversial figure in Washington but is so popular in her home district that she did not face a Republican primary challenger.

She will face token opposition in November, however, as four Democrats lined up to challenge her for the northwest Georgia seat. The top two, Clarence Blalock and Shawn “General” Harris, were separated by just 124 votes on election night and will face off in the Tuesday runoff.

Blalock is making Greene a central figure in his campaign.

“I have a solid plan to turn out enough voters to beat Marjorie Taylor Greene in November, and keep President Biden in the White House,” reads Blalock’s campaign website, which is also heavy on Jan. 6-related imagery. “I’ve proved that my plan works, and if you stick with me, we’ll finally get rid of MTG and have REAL representation in our district.”

Harris, by contrast, attempts to strike a more bipartisan tone.

“Shawn believes that more important than being on Team Red or Team Blue is being on Team Georgia — squarely on the side of hard-working Georgians trying to build a good life,” his campaign website reads. “That means listening to our neighbors, standing with our fellow Georgians, tackling the practical problems facing our communities, and making sure we are getting value back from the tax money we send to Washington.”

Whoever wins the Democratic primary is very unlikely to enter Congress, however, as Georgia’s 14th District is rated R+22 in the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index.

Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District (Republican)

Perhaps the most interesting Peach State runoff comes on the GOP side of the 2nd District, where Chuck Hand faces off against A. Wayne Johnson.

Georgia’s 2nd District is unusual in a number of ways. It is the state’s poorest district and its largest by geography, yet despite being rural, it has been represented by a Democrat, Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), since 1992. It is also the least Democratic majority-black district in the nation, rated D+3 by Cook.

That close rating and the fact that Bishop is 77 has Republicans thinking they can take back the district, which has been in Democratic hands continuously since 1875.

But the Republican primary has been hard-fought and, at times, bitter. Hand made national headlines by storming off a debate stage on Sunday after answering a single question.

“I’ve only seen this man next to me come around when it’s election time, wanting to run for office,” Hand said.

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“I’m not interested in debating the issues of the 2nd District with a man who doesn’t even reside in it, especially one who orchestrates attacks on my wife,” he added. “I’m more concerned about beating Sanford Bishop, representing you, and passing the America First agenda, and putting Donald Trump back in the White House.”

Southwest Georgia voters will decide if they like Hand’s firebrand style or prefer Johnson, who stayed for the duration of the debate and told reporters afterward that Hand’s abrupt exit “should cause people to pause and think about why he did it and what he was trying to get by doing it.”



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