Technical issues with voting machines delayed results for the state’s elections on Tuesday, with several precincts having to stay open later than the mandated closing time.
Some precincts were expected to stay open at least two hours later than the scheduled closing time, and those who got in line before polls closed still would be allowed to vote.
Republicans were leading in all of the statewide races with about 70 percent of Georgia’s counties — most of them in rural parts of the state — reporting at press time.
The results could change quickly as votes in metro Atlanta precincts pour in, where voters traditionally cast their ballots for Democratic candidates. Technical issues in Gwinnett and Fulton counties kept some precincts open as late as 10 p.m.
Former state Rep. Geoff Duncan, a Cumming Republican, was leading Marietta business executive Sarah Riggs Amico.
Duncan, a small-business owner, served five years in the Georgia House before resigning last year to focus on his campaign. Amico, a first-time candidate, is the executive chairwoman of a large truck-hauling company.
In addition to presiding over the Senate, the lieutenant governor is in a position to take a leadership role in shaping the state’s policy discussions.
Secretary of state
The three-way race to be Georgia’s next secretary of state was one that could go to a Dec. 4 runoff election.
Republican Brad Raffensperger of Johns Creek was leading in his quest to be the next secretary of state. He would need to win more than half of the vote to avoid a runoff.
Raffensperger is facing Democrat John Barrow, an Athens resident and former congressman, and Libertarian Smythe DuVal of Marietta.
Whoever becomes secretary of state will be responsible for overseeing the replacement of the state’s 16-year-old electronic voting machines.
Incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr was leading Democrat and former Fulton prosecutor Charlie Bailey at press time.
It is the first statewide election for both candidates — Carr was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2016.
The attorney general is the state’s top prosecutor.
Incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, a Republican, appeared poised to hold onto his seat leading the department. His opponent, Democrat Fred Swann, is a first-time candidate and information technology professional.
Swann was vastly outraised, pulling in only 3 percent of Black’s $679,000 reported haul.
The agriculture commissioner is tasked with regulating the state’s farming industry and has oversight in a variety of areas, including pet breeders, gasoline quality and grocery stores.
Republican Jim Beck, a former agency chief of staff, was leading Democrat Janice Laws, an insurance agent with little political experience, and Libertarian candidate Donnie Foster, a truck driver and former sheriff’s deputy.
The state insurance commissioner regulates insurance and the small-loan industry, and serves as the state’s fire marshal.
The three are running to replace Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who is retiring after two terms during which he was criticized for doing little to stop skyrocketing car insurance rates in Georgia.
Around 10 p.m., with about 70 percent of precincts reporting, Republican state school Superintendent Richard Woods was maintaining a comfortable lead over Democrat Otha Thornton.
Thornton was leading in metro Atlanta and a handful of other counties around the state, which otherwise was going for Woods.
Woods, a former teacher and school administrator, faced a significant challenge from Thornton, the former president of the National PTA, with Thornton outspending him at least 5-1.
There was little to differentiate the two men and their platforms. They agreed on major issues, such as school funding and testing — they both wanted more money and fewer high-stakes exams.
Mark Butler, a Republican running for his third term as the state’s labor commissioner, was leading Democratic challenger Richard Keatley at press time.
Keatley, a former French professor, ran unsuccessfully in last year’s nationally publicized 6th Congressional District race, coming in 16th place out of 18 candidates.
Public Service Commission
As of press time, unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State website showed both incumbents for the Public Service Commission leading in the two races up for grabs.
With about 70 percent of precincts reporting, Chuck Eaton representing District 3 and District 5’s Tricia Pridemore were holding their challengers off.
Eaton is facing a challenge from Democrat Lindy Miller, a businesswoman in the solar industry who has outpaced all other PSC candidates in fundraising. Libertarian Ryan Graham is also vying for the seat.
Pridemore is contending for the seat against Democrat Dawn Randolph and Libertarian John Turpish.
The construction of the twin Vogtle Nuclear power plants in Burke County has raised the role of the commission, which oversees electric and natural gas rates in the state.
Commissioners elected to the PSC serve staggered six-year terms. There are no term limits for commissioners serving at the state body. Currently all of the five commissioners are Republican.
Anastaciah Ondieki and Ty Tagami contributed to this report.