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Nov 8, 2018

Georgia Update: General Election Results

Voters in Georgia went to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 6, in record numbers. Nearly 4 million of the state’s more than 6.4 million registered voters cast ballots for eight constitutional officers, 236 state legislators and 13 members of Congress.

Statewide

The most closely watched races this year were for the open seats for governor and lieutenant governor.

With current Gov. Nathan Deal (R) term-limited, an active race for Georgia’s next top executive, which kicked off in May with a diverse field of candidates from both parties, culminated with a hotly contested race of three candidates on Election Day.

Voters cast ballots for current Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R), former House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams (D) or Libertarian candidate Ted Metz. Projections leading up to Nov. 6 predicted that the presence of a third-party candidate in the contest could result in a gubernatorial runoff; however, as of this writing, the unofficial results project Kemp as narrowly avoiding a runoff with Abrams by garnering a fraction over 50 percent of the vote. With fewer than 63,000 votes separating them, Abrams still believes the remaining absentee and provisional ballots will narrow the divide enough to trigger a runoff in December.

Based on unofficial results, former state Rep. Geoff Duncan defeated Democratic political newcomer Sarah Riggs Amico. Duncan will succeed Republican Casey Cagle as the state’s No. 2 executive and Senate president.

Republican incumbents defeated challengers in the race for attorney general, state school superintendent, and the commissioners of agriculture, insurance and labor. The open race for secretary of state to replace Kemp appears headed for a runoff between former U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D) and former state Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R).  

Georgia General Assembly

At least 34 new state representatives and five new senators will be sworn in when the Georgia General Assembly convenes for legislative session in January. Regardless of the outcome of the governor’s race, unofficial results show that Stacey Abrams had a positive impact on Democratic candidates down ballot. Between the House and Senate, Democrats appear to have picked up a net gain of 13 new seats in the Georgia General Assembly.

House of Representatives

Fifty-one of the state’s 180 House members faced major-party or independent opposition in the 2018 general election, while candidates in 17 seats sought to replace incumbents who did not run for re-election. In addition to retaining nine open seats, Republicans were able to pick up three Democratic seats: two seats lost to Democrats in special elections last year and a former Republican representative who reclaimed the open seat he narrowly lost to a Democrat two years ago. Democrats meanwhile picked up 14 new seats in the House by defeating seven Republican incumbents and flipping seven open seats formerly held by Republicans.

While down from the supermajority they held a few years ago, Republicans are expected to maintain a comfortable majority, with 105 seats in the House, compared to 75 Democratic seats. One seat remains vacant pending a special election following the October appointment of Republican Christian Coomer to the Court of Appeals.

Senate

Twenty of the state’s 56 Senators faced major-party opposition Tuesday night. Three Senate seats were open this year after the Republican incumbents — unsuccessfully — threw their hats in the ring for higher offices. Based on early results, Democrats will pick up one open seat as well as one additional seat after defeating the Republican incumbent.

Congress

While 11 of the state’s 13 representatives easily won re-election to Congress Tuesday night, the race for Georgia’s 6th and 7th Districts were national targets for Democrats to regain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the 6th District, activist and Democratic newcomer Lucy McBath narrowly upset Republican Karen Handel to represent the north-metro Atlanta district. Handel, the incumbent, was seeking her first full term in the U.S. House after winning the seat in a contentious special election in 2017 following the resignation of Tom Price.

Republican incumbent Rob Woodall faced off against college professor Carolyn Bourdeaux in the race for Georgia’s 7th District. Following an early lead by Democrat Bourdeaux, the race remains too close to call, with Woodall pulling ahead by less than 1,000 votes.