A voter leaves the gym Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta after voting Tuesday in the Georgia runoff election. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)
Photo: Jason Getz
Photo: Jason Getz

Georgia Runoffs 2018: Statewide races decided for November election

In addition to the top-of-the-ticket Republican runoff for governor, several powerful state offices were at stake in Tuesday’s elections.

Republican contests included races for lieutenant governor and secretary of state, where Democratic opponents are already set for November’s general election. The only Democratic statewide runoff was for state schools superintendent.

Both parties also had runoffs for Georgia House seats.

Live: Complete runoff election results

Lieutenant governor

Former state Rep. Geoff Duncan defeated state Sen. David Shafer in a close race for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

Duncan, who served in the state House for five years, campaigned as an underdog political outsider to help propel him to victory.

Shafer, a 16-year veteran in the state Senate, ran on his experience in the Legislature and touted the hundreds of endorsements he received from conservative groups and politicians.

Shafer fell just short of winning the nomination outright in the May primary in what was a three-way Republican race.

Duncan will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico, a business executive from Smyrna who is running her first political campaign.

Secretary of state

State Rep. Brad Raffensperger defeated former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle in the Republican runoff for secretary of state. Raffensperger will face Democrat John Barrow, a former U.S. congressman, and Libertarian Smythe DuVal in the November general election.

Raffensperger’s campaign emphasized his experience running large, complex organizations, saying his operations skills would translate to managing the Secretary of State’s Office. Raffensperger has represented the Johns Creek area in the Georgia House since 2015.

The secretary of state is responsible for running the state’s elections, registering Georgia’s businesses and issuing professional licenses.

Schools superintendent

Otha Thornton beat Sid Chapman in the race for the Democratic nomination for state schools superintendent.

Thornton was the first black man to serve as president of the National PTA. Chapman is the former president of the Georgia Association of Educators, a teacher and school administrator advocacy group.

Thornton will face incumbent Republican Richard Woods, a former teacher and school administrator concluding his first term as superintendent.


Eight seats were being contested in runoffs for the Georgia House of Representatives. All but one of these races will be contested in November.

State Rep. Paulette Rakestraw, a Republican from Hiram, lost her primary runoff to challenger Joseph Gullet. She was the only incumbent facing a runoff Tuesday.

In a Cobb County district, Ginny Ehrhart beat Thomas Gray to replace Ehrhart’s husband, Earl, a Republican who is retiring from the Powder Springs seat. She’ll face Democrat Jen Slipakoff in the general election.

Democrat El-Mahdi Holly beat Tarji Leonard Dunn in the runoff for a Henry County seat. He will face incumbent state Rep. Geoff Cauble, R-Locust Grove, in November.

In a Macon district, Republican Dale Washburn bested Gary Bechtel in the runoff to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon. Washburn will not face a Democrat in November.

Jessica Walden beat Gregory D. Odoms in the Democratic primary runoff for an open Bleckley County seat. State Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, is retiring from the Legislature.

Bonnie Rich was victorious against Kipper Tabb in a Republican runoff for a Duluth-area district, a seat currently held by outgoing state Rep. Brooks Coleman.

In another Gwinnett County district, Paula Hastings defeated Zach Procter in a race to succeed state Rep. Buzz Brockway, a Republican from Lawrenceville who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state.

Republican Donna Sheldon won against Robin Mauck in another Gwinnett district, hoping to fill the seat left open by retiring state Rep. Joyce Chandler, also a Republican.

Staff reporter Ty Tagami contributed to this article.

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