Tuesday night results: Two power couples and a Democratic surprise

Betty Price, the wife of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, on Tuesday took 51 percent of the vote in a special state House election, beating two contenders and avoiding a mid-summer runoff.

Price, a Republican anesthesiologist and member of the Roswell City Council, won 51 percent of 2,653 votes cast. She replaces the late Harry Geisinger, who died in May.

Dave McCleary, a long-time GOP activist who said Geisinger had asked him to run in his stead, finished with 34 percent of the vote. Democrat Jimmy Johnson received 15 percent in the balloting for the House District 48 seat.

This is a first for Georgia. Never before have we had a husband-and-wife team serving concurrently in Congress and the Legislature.

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Our AJC colleague Mark Niesse followed the DeKalb County Commission race last night, which ended with the creation of another power couple:

Johnson defeated George Turner, a retired MARTA manager and a leader of several community improvement groups. Both are Democrats

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Two other House races, both runoffs, were completed on Tuesday. Sherri Smallwood Gilligan (75 percent) wiped the floor with fellow Republican David Van Sant in the Forsyth County-based contest for House District 24. Gilligan will replace Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, who left the Legislature for a job in Tennessee.

In the Atlanta-based House District 55 race to replace state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, Marie Robinson Metze (58 percent) beat Shelitha Renee Robertson.

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But the most important surprise of the evening may have been generated by Taylor Bennett, a Democrat, who led the voting Tuesday in a four-candidate field seeking to replace state Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven.

Bennett, an attorney, finished with 37 percent of 3,996 votes cast, besting former Brookhaven mayor J. Max Davis, a Republican, for the top spot. The pair will meet again in an Aug. 11 runoff.

Davis, burdened with allegations of sexual harassment of city employees, outpolled fellow Republican Catherine Bernard by only 57 votes. Loren Collins, also a Republican, received 63 votes.

House District 80 has been among the most liberal seats held by Republicans. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, vacated the post this spring to accept a DeKalb County judicial appointment.

Bennett made his opposition to “religious liberty” legislation, now pending before the General Assembly, the centerpiece of his short campaign. Here’s some audio from an interview the former Georgia Tech quarterback by WSB Radio’s Scott Slade:

Bennett also got a little help from a fellow Techie. That's him (right) with Calvin Johnson, the star Detroit Lions wide receiver otherwise known as Megatron.

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We'll let the Macon Telegraph carry the ball on the race to replace House majority leader Larry O'Neal, R-Bonaire, who resigned to accept a judgeship:

Blackmon received 1,735 votes, 43.8 percent, to Walker's 1,397, 35.3 percent, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.

Former Houston County District Attorney Kelly Burke is out of the running, finishing third with 828 votes, 20.9 percent.

Walker is the son of a former legislator with the same name, who also served as House majority leader.

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The House District 155 race to replace Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla, is also headed to a runoff between Clay Pirkle (36 percent) and Horace Hudges (32 percent). Both are Republicans.

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An additional note comes via the Associated Press:

Unofficial results of a special election Tuesday showed first-time candidate Gary Thrower defeating former mayor Floyd Griffin Jr. by just 35 votes. Griffin said he plans to ask for a recount.

A special election was called after Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley resigned in February. He was arrested on charges of insurance fraud a month later.

Griffin had appeared to be the front-runner going into the election Tuesday. In the first round of voting June 16, Griffin won 45 percent of the vote to Thrower's 33 percent in a three-way race that was forced into a runoff.