Charlie Bailey wins Democratic race for lieutenant governor

Atlanta attorney Charlie Bailey has won the Democratic runoff election for lieutenant governor.

Bailey had a comfortable lead with nearly 90% of the ballots counted Tuesday night, according to unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office. He will face Donald Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Burt Jones, a state senator from Jackson, who bested three others in last month’s GOP primary, and Libertarian Ryan Graham in November.

Bailey pulled off an upset defeat of former U.S. Rep. Kwanza Hall, a longtime Atlanta politician who served the last month of U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ term after the congressman and civil rights leader died in 2020.

Bailey finished far behind Hall in the May 24 primary, pulling in about 18% of the nearly 691,000 ballots cast in the nine-way Democratic primary. Hall led the pack in May, receiving about 30% of the votes. State law requires a runoff election when no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

ExploreElection 2022: Complete guide to Georgia’s lieutenant governor race

Shortly after the primary, Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams endorsed Bailey in the runoff, adding her name to a list of endorsements from some of the party’s political elites. In addition to Abrams, Bailey had the backing of former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, former Gov. Roy Barnes and Mark Taylor, the last Democrat to serve as lieutenant governor.

Bailey, a Harris County native, led in campaign fundraising throughout the primary and reported raising about $841,000 as of June 15. Hall, who skipped both televised debates during the campaign season, reported about $324,000 in campaign contributions.

The job is open after Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced last year that he wouldn’t run for a second term. Duncan had criticized Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump vowed to unseat Duncan and other Georgia Republicans who refused to overturn the state’s election. Most Trump-endorsed candidates lost in either the GOP primary in May or Tuesday’s runoffs.