ATLANTA - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has won the Republican primary as he seeks reelection.
Raffensperger beat three challengers, including Trump-endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who had criticized his handling of the 2020 election.
"What I have found is that every Georgian wants safe and secure elections with the right balance of accessibility with security. That’s where Georgia voting is today," Raffensperger told reporters late Tuesday after declaring victory.
Raffensperger was among Trump’s chief targets when the former president turned his wrath on top Georgia officials for not taking steps to overturn his narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the state. Trump insisted without proof that victory had been stolen from him through widespread voter fraud.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's secretary of state, speaks during a news conference at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (Photographer: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
All three challengers in the GOP primary — Hice, former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle and former probate and magistrate judge T.J. Hudson — criticized Raffensperger’s handling of the 2020 election, saying he caused Georgians to lose confidence in the system.
Raffensperger punched back, staunchly defending his record and insisting that Georgia’s elections are fair and secure. He also made prohibiting noncitizens from voting — a platform popular with conservative Republicans that is already enshrined in Georgia law — a centerpiece of his reelection campaign.
Georgia State Rep. Bee Nguyen speaks at the March On For Voting Rights at The King Center on August 28, 2021. (Photo by Derek White/Getty Images)
Georgia Secretary of State Democratic primary heads to runoff
On the Democratic side of the primary, State Rep. Bee Nguyen is advancing to a runoff with 44% of the vote.
While it was too early to tell which of the other four Democratic candidates she will face in the June 21 contest, currently Dee Dawkins-Haigler, a former state representative from DeKalb County, is in the second spot with 19% of the vote. Following Dawkins-Haigler are Michael Owens, former Cobb County Democratic Party chairman; Floyd Griffin, a state senator and former mayor of the city of Milledgeville; and John Eaves, former Fulton County Commission chairman.
Nguyen has served in the state House since winning a 2017 special election to succeed Stacey Abrams in a district that includes parts of DeKalb County just east of the Fulton County line and some parts of the city of Atlanta. Nguyen is also a vice chair of the state Democratic Party.
In her campaign, Nguyen has highlighted her work to debunk false narratives. All five Democratic candidates have championed voting rights and criticized a sweeping election law passed by Republicans in the General Assembly in 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.