Georgia eyes another 'SEC primary' in 2020

That raises the possibility that Georgia could be paired with South Carolina, which held first-in-the-South primary votes on consecutive weekends in February. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the architect of the March 1 “SEC Primary” that centered on Georgia, Texas and a band of other mostly Southern states, seemed lukewarm on the idea.

 "The SEC Primary’s success has put the idea of future regional primaries on the map,” Kemp said. “The increased cooperation of the states, the excitement of the grassroots, as well record-breaking turnout is what’s driving this movement.  Partnering with states like South Carolina is intriguing, but my focus remains on having Georgians’ voice be heard while the race still matters.”

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Former state Rep. Tim Bearden, who Deal tapped to lead the state police training academy in middle Georgia, failed in his bid to claim state Rep. Dusty Hightower’s Carroll County-based district. The seat came open when Hightower was appointed by Deal as a judge.

The victor was J. Collins, a former mayor of Villa Rica who got into Deal’s good graces shortly after another west Georgia conservative, state Rep. Kevin Cooke, blasted the governor as a closet liberal for his vetoes of two controversial measures.

Collins called Deal’s chief of staff the day the comments were published to let him know that Cooke’s comments were “not of his opinion or that of Villa Rica as a whole,” according to a records request.

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The Georgia Democrat resigned this week from a role with The Elders, an international nonprofit comprised of elder statesmen who try to bring diplomatic solutions to pressing global problems.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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