ATLANTA (AP) — Three new faces are headed to Washington to represent Georgia in the U.S. House along with 10 incumbents who won reelection amid a competitive statewide election with votes still being counted early Wednesday.
Among those returning is Democrat Lucy McBath, who won another term in a House seat in the Atlanta suburbs.
Marjorie Taylor Greene won election unopposed in an open seat after expressing racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories, while Democrat and state Sen. Nikema Williams will be the long-term successor to the late U.S. Rep John Lewis. Republican gun dealer Andrew Clyde also won an open seat to succeed U.S. Rep Doug Collins. Voters also approved three statewide ballot questions.
After weeks of early balloting, it was not immediately clear whether the state would award its electoral votes to Democrat Joe Biden or again support President Donald Trump.
In one Senate race, incumbent Republican David Perdue, a close ally of Trump, faced Democrat Jon Ossoff in a race characterized by sharp attacks. The race remained too soon to call Tuesday.
The second race headed to a Jan. 5 runoff between Kelly Loeffler, a wealthy Republican businesswoman who was appointed to the seat, and Democrat Raphael Warnock, pastor of the Atlanta church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had preached. Among those eliminated from a 20-candidate field was Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins. The winner will get the remaining two years of a term originally won by now-retired Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Georgia Democratic Party Chair Nikema Williams was elected to take over the congressional seat of Lewis after the civil rights icon died in July. Williams easily beat Republican Angela Stanton-King in the district including much of Atlanta and nearby suburbs. The 42-year-old Williams was tapped to succeed Lewis and joins two other Black women, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, among Georgia’s most influential Democrats. Stanton-King, 43, is a reality TV personality and Trump supporter. She argued Trump had delivered economically for African Americans. A special election to determine Lewis’ short-term replacement takes place next month, but the winner will only be in Congress until Williams is sworn in on Jan. 3.
Democrat Lucy McBath won a second term in Georgia’s 6th District against Republican Karen Handel, whom McBath unseated in 2018. The race in Atlanta’s northern suburbs centered on arguments about health care, abortion, support for police and gun control. McBath projected an image as a bipartisan worker, but Handel said she’s too liberal. McBath hit Handel over health care and Handel’s opposition to abortion rights. Handel said McBath’s advocacy for gun control made her a “single-issue” candidate and said she was out of touch with voters.
Republican Rich McCormick seeks to hold on to suburban Atlanta’s 7th District for his party as Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux attempts to win a district she lost by fewer than 500 votes to retiring GOP Rep. Rob Woodall in 2018. McCormick, an emergency room physician, touts empowering business owners and individuals. Bourdeaux, a public policy professor, says government needs to do more to provide access to health care and solve people’s problems. The fast-diversifying district includes parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties and is one of the most closely watched races nationwide.
Republican Andrew Clyde beat Democrat Devin Pandy in an open seat in northeast Georgia after incumbent Doug Collins chose to run for U.S. Senate. Clyde touted his support of gun rights and his success in getting a law changed after the IRS seized $940,000 from him in 2013. Pandy pledged a bipartisan, little-guy approach, saying his priorities include better access to health care, a higher minimum wage and an end to tariffs. Clyde far outspent Pandy, with the gun dealer loaning his campaign more than $1.4 million.
Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene won election in an unopposed race in northwest Georgia’s 14th Congressional District after Democratic challenger Kevin Van Ausdal dropped out and left the state. Greene has expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories. She was supported by Trump, who called her a “future Republican Star.” Greene has alleged an “Islamic invasion” of government offices and accused Jewish billionaire George Soros of collaborating with Nazis.
OTHER CONGRESSIONAL RACES
Republican Buddy Carter won a fourth term in Congress, beating Democrat Joyce Marie Griggs in the coastal 1st District. Carter said he would focus on economic recovery. Griggs said it was key to keep the Affordable Care Act in place, and sought more stimulus money for people because of COVID-19.
Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop won a 15th term in southwest Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District against Republican Don Cole. Bishop campaigned as a moderate focused on development, also calling for a stronger response to COVID-19. Cole said he would focus on economic development.
Incumbent Republican Drew Ferguson beat Democrat Val Almonord, winning his third term in western Georgia’s 3rd District. Ferguson touted work to increase internet access and improve business competitiveness. Almonord argued for expanding health care and more COVID-19 relief.
Incumbent Democrat Hank Johnson defeated Republican Johsie Cruz Ezammudeen to win a seventh term representing the 4th District in Atlanta’s eastern suburbs. Johnson touted criminal justice reform and improving internet access. Cruz supported Trump and opposed abortion.
Republican Austin Scott won a sixth term against Democrat Lindsey Holliday and Green Party member Jimmy Cooper in the 8th District. Scott supported agriculture, rural hospitals and military bases. Holliday argued Trump endangers democracy and sought a stronger COVID-19 response.
Incumbent Republican Jody Hice won a fourth term in eastern Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. He defeated Democrat Tabitha Johnson-Green for the second straight time. Hice defended Trump, supported police and opposed abortion on the campaign trail. Johnson-Green emphasized access to health care.
Republican Barry Loudermilk beat Democrat Dana Barrett in the 11th Congressional District in the northwest Atlanta suburbs. Loudermilk won a fourth term focusing on economic recovery, low taxes and less regulation. Barrett emphasized health care and equal economic opportunity.
Republican Rick Allen won a fourth term against Democrat Liz Johnson in eastern Georgia’s 12th Congressional District. Allen opposed expanded federal health coverage and social service programs. Johnson ran unsuccessfully for state insurance commissioner in 2014.
Incumbent Democrat David Scott defeated Republican Becky Hites, winning a 10th term representing Georgia’s 13th Congressional District in Atlanta’s southern suburbs. Scott advocated for more money for COVID-19 relief and gun control. Hites said she would work to improve the district’s economy.
Republicans kept their majority in the 180-seat Georgia House of Representatives, maintaining command over how Georgia’s congressional and legislative districts will be drawn. The GOP had a 105-75 majority entering the election, as Democrats sought 16 seats needed for control. Republican David Jenkins defeated Democratic Minority Leader Bob Trammell in a district southwest of Atlanta after the GOP targeted Trammell with $1 million, while Democrat Rebecca Mitchell unseated Republican House Ways and Means Chairman Brett Harrell in Gwinnett County. The Republican victory is likely to mean another two years for House Speaker David Ralston.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
Incumbent Republican Jason Shaw was being challenged by Democrat Robert Bryant and Libertarian Elizabeth Melton for a spot on the Public Service Commission. Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonald’s reelection was challenged by Democrat Daniel Blackman and Libertarian Nathan Wilson. Winners must reckon with the impact of Georgia Power Co.’s $25 billion nuclear plant on power bills. The incumbents say they’re balancing consumer and utility needs, but the challengers say the balance is too tilted toward utilities.
Voters statewide broadly approved three ballot questions. State constitutional Amendment 1 lets lawmakers earmark funds for certain programs. Amendment 2 lets people sue governments for illegal acts, but judges couldn’t enter an injunction ordering a government to do something or order a government to pay money. Referendum A exempts from taxes property owned by charitable groups such as Habitat for Humanity that sell homes to individuals through no-interest loans.