ATLANTA - Georgia voters will return to the polls next month to decide several races where none of the candidates garnered the 50% plus one needed to avoid a runoff.
"The focus for all of these campaigns in the next week is going to be calling donors and making sure that you've got enough money to run through the finish line," said Brian Robinson, Republican strategist and president of Robinson Republic.
Candidates must find ways to reach voters before the runoffs
Robinson said the campaigns will need resources to reach voters and remind them about the runoffs, especially with the biggest primary races, like governor and U.S. Senate, already decided.
"What's going to be imperative is the ability for these candidates to raise money quickly," explained Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist and founder of Paramount Consulting Group.
A recent change to state law means the runoff period is now just four weeks long. It was previously nine weeks after an election or primary.
Democrats have to select nominees in four statewide races--Charlie Bailey or Kwanza Hall for lieutenant governor, State Rep. William Boddie or Nicole Horn for labor commissioner, State Rep. Bee Nguyen or former State Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler for Secretary of State, and Raphael Baker or Janice Laws Robinson for insurance commissioner.
Lt. Governor Democratic candidate
Charlie Bailey, a lawyer who previously ran for Attorney General, is taking on the former Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall in the primary runoff.
Bailey, a 2010 graduate of the University of Georgia School of law, served as a former Senior Assistant District Attorney in Fulton County with a long list of convictions. The Georgia native then joined the Cook & Connelly law firm.
Hall served for many years in the Atlanta City Council. Following the death of Congressman John Lewis, he was elected to serve out the remaining term in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District
Both men live in Atlanta.
Lt. Governor Republican candidate race too close to call
On the side of the Republicans, a lawmaker endorsed by Trump led his three rivals seeking the nomination, though it was too early to call the race. The office’s current occupant, Republican and Trump critic Geoff Duncan, passed on seeking another term.
State Sen. Burt Jones led in unofficial returns. Jones called for a statewide investigation into the 2020 election.
If it goes into a runoff, he would be up against Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller.
Labor Commissioner Democratic candidate
State Rep. William Boddie and businesswoman Nicole Horn will vie for the Democratic nomination for Georgia Labor Commissioner.
Horn, a former television reporter, started a business that used labor data to help colleges and university develop new programs aimed at getting students employment following their schooling.
The winner of the primary runoff will face Georgia State Senator Bruce Thompson in November. The state Senator has served for the past eight years.
Secretary of State Democratic candidates Been Nguyen and Dee Dawkins-Haigler
State Rep. Bee Nguyen will face former State Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler in a runoff to determine who will represent the Democratic Party in the Georgia Secretary of State’s race in November.
Rep. Nguyen has served for the last four years in the Georgia House, filling the vacancy left by Stacey Abrams. She is the first Vietnamese-American elected to the Georgia House and previously was an executive director of a non-profit organization.
Former Rep. Dawkins Haigler was the chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus in 2013. She would for the Georgia Senate in 2018 and lose by only 10 votes. She previously ran for the seat in 2018, but was beat by John Barrow in the primary.
The winner will face incumbent Brad Raffensperger.
Insurance Commissioner Democratic candidates Raphael Baker or Janice Laws Robinson
Raphael Baker calls himself a "serial entrepreneur" with almost two decades of insurance industry experience. He will take on Janice Laws Robinson who is the managing partner and principal broker of a small specialty lines insurance agency, J. Laws & Associates.
The winner of the primary runoff will challenge incumbent John King in November.
Winning over the supporters of other candidates
Johnson said the candidates who made it to the runoff now have to try to earn the support of the ones who did not.
"You're making sure that you consolidate the base by trying to get the endorsements of the candidates that were not victorious," said Johnson.
Republicans will have to decide whether to support Jake Evans or Dr. Rich McCormick in the 6th Congressional District and Mike Collins or Vernon Jones in the 10th Congressional District.
"There are still a lot of folks who haven't tuned in to races on the congressional level and they've got to make people tune in in the next four weeks without Kemp and Herschel Walker driving turnout, but on the bright side more people like you will be talking about them than they were when Herschel and Brian were on the ballot," Robinson explained.
U.S. House – Georgia 6th Congressional District Republican candidate
Attorney Jake Evans will be taking on former military medic and emergency physician Dr. Rich McCormick.
Evans, who lives in Roswell, has worked as a partner with Hall Booth Smith, P.C., and Holland & Knight LLP.
McCormick served both in the Marines and Navy before coming home to be on the front lines at Gwinnett Medical Center and Northside Hospital. The Suwanee resident is also an instructor and a pilot.
The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Bob Christian, a former Army soldier and restaurant manager, in November.
U.S. House – Georgia 10th Congressional District candidates
Trucking business owner Mike Collins will be facing Trump-backed Vernon Jones in the Republican primary runoff for the 10th Congressional District.
Collins, who lives in Jackson, owns Collins Trucking Company and is a graduate of Georgia State University.
Jones, a career politician, served in the Georgia House for four years after serving as the CEO of DeKalb County for many years. Jones switched parties in 2021 after throwing his support behind President Donald Trump.
Collins or Jones will likely face either Jessica Fore or Tabitha Johnson-Green on the Democrat side.
Fore, a Georgia native, has experience working as a realtor, a musician, and an anti-abuse advocate.
Johnson-Green is a registered nurse having earned degrees from Georgia Southern University, Middle Georgia College, and Ultimate Medical Academy.
Former President Trump’s influence in Georgia’s primary runoffs
Robinson said the congressional races will be a good way to measure the power of former President's Donald Trump's endorsements for an open seat. Trump endorsed Jones and Evans in their congressional races.
"We've seen Trump continue to maintain significant influence in open seats, which both of these are," Robinson explained. "Vernon Jones, of course, is the Trump-endorsed candidate over in the 10th and [his campaign] really relies almost solely on the Trump endorsement. Vernon Jones is a former Democrat who lived in DeKalb County until very recently. The 10th district is a swath of rural east Georgia. So, the two don't really necessarily have much in common. The Trump endorsement has almost single-handedly put him into second place and frankly, within shooting position because that margin is very tight."
The runoffs will be held June 21.