Voters replace Chip Rogers, but two races headed to Feb. 5 runoff

Voters elected two new state senators Tuesday in a special election, while two other races will be decided in a Feb.5 runoff.

The seat of former Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, which takes in parts of Cherokee and Fulton counties, was won by Republican Brandon Beach, president and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

Beach, on his second try for the seat, beat former state Rep. Sean Jerguson, R-Canton. Beach had challenged Rogers in the July primary and lost. Jerguson, re-elected to the House in November, resigned that seat to run for the Senate after Rogers exited the Capitol in December for a job with Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Also winning Tuesday was Republican Mike Dugan, a Carrollton contractor who will represent portions of Carroll, Douglas and Paulding counties in Senate District 30. Dugan beat Libertarian James Camp. The seat came open last year when Gov. Nathan Deal named state Sen. Bill Hamrick a Superior Court judge on the Coweta Judicial Circuit.

Two Republicans will vie in a runoff to replace Jerguson in Cherokee County’s House District 21: businessmen Scot Turner and Brian Laurens. Turner lost to Jerguson in last year’s primary. He and Laurens topped a ballot Tuesday that included Democrat Natalie Bergeron, an attorney, and fellow Republican Kenneth A. Mimbs

The race for Senate District 11, located in the state’s rural southwest corner, is also headed for a runoff between Republicans Dean Burke and Mike Keown.

Their race originally involved seven candidates, but then Democrat Lisa Collins, an economic development director in Early County, dropped out. Burke and Keown beat three other Republicans — Marshall Berman, Brad Hughes and Eugene McNease — and Libertarian candidate Jeffrey Bivins.

Veteran state Sen. John Bulloch, R-Ochlocknee, resigned from District 11 in December while recovering from meningitis.

Runoffs occur when no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. The Georgia Legislature begins work for the year Monday, when the winning candidates from Tuesday’s election will be sworn in.

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