Biden and Trump win Georgia primaries and clinch nominations

Georgia’s primary helped the president and former president earn enough delegates to each become the presumptive nominees
President Joe Biden, left, and former President Donald Trump were both in position Tuesday to clinch their parties' nominations.

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

President Joe Biden, left, and former President Donald Trump were both in position Tuesday to clinch their parties' nominations.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump captured Georgia’s primaries on Tuesday and clinched their parties’ presidential nominations, setting the stage for a grueling eight-month campaign grind that will be capped by a November rematch.

The two rivals faced only token opposition in Georgia, rendering an election night once designed to be a pivotal moment in the White House campaign an afterthought. Outlets projected Biden and Trump the winners in Georgia shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m.

But the night still held significance, as both candidates entered Tuesday’s slate of votes within grasp of capturing a majority of their parties’ delegates to formally become the presumptive nominee.

Georgia was the only political battleground to hold votes Tuesday and offered the biggest delegate bounty on a slate of states that also included Hawaii, Mississippi and Washington.

If President Joe Biden sweeps all 108 of Georgia's delegates in Tuesday night's primary, he will have enough to clinch the Democratic nomination. (Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

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Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

While Biden clinched the Democratic nomination by winning Georgia, Trump had to wait until the polls closed in Washington state at 11 p.m. to formally secure the GOP nod.

Though the Georgia race was no cliffhanger, it was still rife with symbolism. It wasn’t lost on Democrats that Biden clinched his party’s nod with the vote in Georgia, which propelled him to the White House in 2020 when it voted Democratic for the first time in decades.

And for Trump, Georgia’s vote also offered political resonance. The state that has dealt Trump some of his most devastating political — and legal — setbacks on Tuesday was poised to help him cement his third consecutive GOP nomination.

Each brought their campaigns to Georgia on Saturday with dueling rallies that kicked off what is certain to be an intense, ugly fight for the state’s 16 electoral votes.

Turnout was abysmal, with many voters dissuaded by the lack of competition on the ballot. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Trump’s last main GOP rival, quit the Republican race last week after a Super Tuesday wipeout. Biden has steamrolled his competition.

Still, the primary could hold clues about the mood of the electorate. Republicans were watching closely for signs of fissure within the GOP, since large numbers of voters cast their ballot before Haley ended her bid.

Gov. Brian Kemp, who has a long and contentious history with Trump, repeated his plans Tuesday to support the former president in November. But he pointedly wouldn’t say whether he voted for him in the primary or whether he’ll campaign with him later this year.

While repeating Tuesday that he plans to support Donald Trump in November, Gov. Brian Kemp pointedly wouldn’t say whether he voted for Trump in Georgia's primary. (Arvin Temkar/

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Haley tallied strong support in metro Atlanta and other areas where swing voters could prove decisive, performing particularly well in the Democratic strongholds of DeKalb and Fulton counties where early returns showed her hovering around 40% of the vote.

Democrats grappled with a protest-vote movement over Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war that calls for critics to cast a blank ballot. Organizers hoped the abstentions signal that his foreign policy could hurt him in an important battleground.

State Rep. Ruwa Romman, a Duluth Democrat, said volunteers tapped out more than 55,000 texts, sent 24,000 emails and made 2,400 calls urging likely Democratic voters in Georgia to leave the ballot blank.

“We are trying to send this message that this is serious enough that we want a change in course before November,” said Romman, the first Palestinian American to serve in the Georgia Legislature.

‘Fired up’

The relatively low stakes offered both campaigns an opportunity to rev up their turnout machinery, motivate voters and engage activists.

“Democrats are still showing up even knowing that President Biden is going to win,” said U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, who heads the state party. “Democrats are fired up. That energy is going to push us through the general election cycle into November.”

Republicans readied new attacks. A pro-Trump super PAC launched ads in Georgia and other competitive states critical of the 81-year-old Biden’s health, and Trump told CNBC on the eve of the primary that he’s ready for the general election.

“I assume he’s going to be the candidate,” Trump said of Biden. “I’m his only opponent other than life, life itself.”

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, said Monday night that he's ready for the general election campaign to begin. (Arvin Temkar /

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

The low turnout meant a mostly smooth election process. Officials reported nonexistent wait times throughout the state. There were a few technical issues, such as two Charlton County precincts that opened late because poll workers forgot to bring their keys.

Stephanie Boehmig of Sandy Springs said she was determined to cast her ballot even if the victors were all but certain.

“If they are already decided,” she said, “then it means it’s not a real election.”

In Woodstock, Bill Hancock brought his six children to polling sites to teach them about the importance of voting.

“Voting is a privilege and a responsibility,” he said. “I never take the right to vote for granted. Even though we know the outcome of the primary, it’s still a privilege.”

Staff writers Michelle Baruchman, Mark Niesse and Jillian Price contributed to this article.