Boddie has been endorsed by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams. He will face Republican Bruce Thompson, a member of the Georgia State Senate, in the general election in November.
The current Labor Commissioner, Republican Mark Butler, said earlier this year that he would not seek re-election for personal reasons.
Thompson won a solid majority of the votes on the Republican side, avoiding a run-off by handily besting a candidate Butler had endorsed.
Both Thompson and Boddie have been critical of the department’s performance during the pandemic, though with sharply different perspectives.
The department was overwhelmed by an avalanche of jobless claims in the early months of the pandemic and never seemed to completely catch up. Claimants waited months to have their cases handled and often found it impossible to reach staffers.
Thompson said the department needs modernization and an aggressive, business-style emphasis on measuring performance.
Boddie has said the department should be more of an advocate for working people and needs more decentralized outreach, with deputy commissioners assigned to various regions and career centers in all but the smallest counties.
On Monday, an advocacy group released a report sketching out a series reforms it said are needed at the Georgia Department of Labor. More staff, more funding and better technology are needed at the agency, according to NELP Action.
The report also calls for legislation that would expand unemployment benefits for jobless Georgians.