Trump-backed down-ballot statewide candidates fare poorly in primary

May 25, 2022 Atlanta: Dancing was in while Dad voted (center) at Park Tavern located at 500 10th Street NE, Atlanta. The Father declined to give his name or the name of his son. Voters encountered short lines and limited problems as election day got underway in Georgia on Monday, May 25, 2022 making their voices heard in one of the politically competitive states in the nation. But there were initial hiccups in a few voting locations. Some voters arrived at the polls to find their precincts had been moved to different locations. Others had short waits during the initial morning rush. Several voting locations had problems starting voting machines. In Fulton County, voting was running smoothly at almost all of the county's 250 polling sites, in part thanks to the 91,000 voters who cast their ballots during three weeks of early voting, said Interim Elections Director Nadine Williams. Two polling places, Hopewell Middle in Milton and Creel Park in South Fulton, opened 20 to 30 minutes late. Williams didn't provide a reason for the delays, but she said the county is asking a judge to allow the sites to close later so everyone can vote. She said some poll workers were 'no-shows' but they had staff in reserve. Williams encouraged folks to vote during lunch hours. The New Georgia Project, a voting rights group which monitors election issues, reported the polling place at Bethesda Elementary School in Gwinnett County opened about 30 minutes late. At North Decatur Presbyterian Church, two voting touchscreens weren't working because of a problem with their batteries, but poll workers said they had enough functioning touchscreens to avoid delays. About 70 voters cast ballots in the first hour of voting. Another voter, Marcia King, said she needed help from a poll worker to figure out how to print her ballot from the touchscreen. 'This was very easy with no problems at all, and people were there to help," King said. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
May 25, 2022 Atlanta: Dancing was in while Dad voted (center) at Park Tavern located at 500 10th Street NE, Atlanta. The Father declined to give his name or the name of his son. Voters encountered short lines and limited problems as election day got underway in Georgia on Monday, May 25, 2022 making their voices heard in one of the politically competitive states in the nation. But there were initial hiccups in a few voting locations. Some voters arrived at the polls to find their precincts had been moved to different locations. Others had short waits during the initial morning rush. Several voting locations had problems starting voting machines. In Fulton County, voting was running smoothly at almost all of the county's 250 polling sites, in part thanks to the 91,000 voters who cast their ballots during three weeks of early voting, said Interim Elections Director Nadine Williams. Two polling places, Hopewell Middle in Milton and Creel Park in South Fulton, opened 20 to 30 minutes late. Williams didn't provide a reason for the delays, but she said the county is asking a judge to allow the sites to close later so everyone can vote. She said some poll workers were 'no-shows' but they had staff in reserve. Williams encouraged folks to vote during lunch hours. The New Georgia Project, a voting rights group which monitors election issues, reported the polling place at Bethesda Elementary School in Gwinnett County opened about 30 minutes late. At North Decatur Presbyterian Church, two voting touchscreens weren't working because of a problem with their batteries, but poll workers said they had enough functioning touchscreens to avoid delays. About 70 voters cast ballots in the first hour of voting. Another voter, Marcia King, said she needed help from a poll worker to figure out how to print her ballot from the touchscreen. 'This was very easy with no problems at all, and people were there to help," King said. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

While former President Donald Trump’s endorsement didn’t have much sway in the governor’s race, his influence may have helped pull votes in one statewide down-ballot race.

Trump’s pick for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Burt Jones, a Jackson Republican, might be able to avoid a runoff, pulling in far more votes than the other three candidates in the race as the ballots were being counted Tuesday. If he isn’t able to remain above the 50% mark, Jones will face Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller of Gainesville in a runoff election next month.

In the nine-way Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, former Atlanta city councilman and briefly U.S. Rep. Kwanza Hall and Charlie Bailey, an attorney who ran for attorney general four years ago, appeared likely to head to a runoff.

State law requires candidates to receive more than 50% of the votes cast in order to win an election. In primary races where no candidate reaches that threshold, a runoff is required.

Trump-backed candidates for state insurance commissioner and attorney general were badly beaten in the GOP primary.

Attorney John Gordon was easily defeated by Republican Attorney General Chris Carr, who came out on top in the GOP primary.

Carr will face Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan, who defeated attorney Christian Wise Smith in the Democratic primary for attorney general.

State Insurance Commissioner John King won the Republican nomination for his post, trouncing a Trump candidate.

Trump didn’t weigh in on all of Georgia’s down-ballot races.

State Sen. Bruce Thompson held a substantial lead late Tuesday in the Republican primary to lead the state Department of Labor, while a trio of Democrats were battling it out for the top two spots in what appears to be a likely runoff.

On the Democratic side, none of the candidates had secured even one-third of the votes counted. State Rep. William Boddie was leading. but Nicole Horn, a small business owner, and Lester Jackson, a Savannah state senator, were not far behind.

In the state school superintendent’s race, incumbent Richard Woods won his Republican primary over former state Superintendent John Barge.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary for the post, Alisha Thomas Searcy, a former state representative from Austell, appeared to avoid a runoff.

Nakita Hemingway appeared set to win the Democratic nomination for Georgia agriculture commissioner.

Hemingway, a Dacula cut-flower farmer and real estate agent, held a substantial lead over state Rep. Winfred Dukes and Fred Swann. Republican state Sen. Tyler Harper ran unopposed in his primary.

In the race for the District 2 seat on Georgia’s Public Service Commission, Patty Durand beat Russell Edwards in the Democratic primary.

Republican incumbent Tim Echols ran unopposed in his primary.

Staff writers Michael Kanell, Drew Kann, Shannon McCaffrey, Ty Tagami and David Wickert contributed to this article.