UPDATE at 12:16 p.m.: My colleagues on the news side have now called the referendum as well, declaring T-SPLOST defeated in metro Atlanta. It’s on to Plan B. The one thing I can say with certainty: There will be a Plan B.
That’s it for tonight. More to come Wednesday.
UPDATE at 11:55 p.m.: At least four incumbent House members were defeated Tuesday by challengers:
In addition, there are two districts where House Democratic incumbents were paired against each other. Pat Gardner had a 63-37 lead over Rashad Taylor, while Simone Bell led Ralph Long 57-43.
And another six House incumbents were in real trouble: Judy Manning, R-Marietta; Yasmin Neal, D-Jonesboro; Glenn Baker, D-Jonesboro; Kip Smith, R-Columbus; and Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, all were trailing late Tuesday night, and Pam Dickerson, D-Conyers, was headed for a runoff against Sharon Sawyer.
UPDATE at 11:30 p.m.: My prediction of a single-digit loss for metro Atlanta’s T-SPLOST is looking shaky. With two-thirds of the region’s precincts reporting, the tax is trailing by a whopping 18 28 percentage points, 64-36 (sorry, late-night math — KW). We shall see what the final margin is, but I feel safe in saying the tax has been defeated.
In other news, it would appear state Sen. Jack Murphy survived a tough primary challenge. Other endangered Senate incumbents (see previous update) were still having to sweat it out. Sens. Miriam Paris and Bill Heath, and probably Gail Davenport as well, appeared headed for runoffs.
UPDATE at 10:10 p.m.: A few incumbent state senators appear to be in some trouble tonight. With the caveat that it’s still early, with important parts of these districts still to report, the nervous ones tonight are:
UPDATE at 9:44 p.m.: In congressional races, we appear to be headed to runoffs in a couple of GOP primaries.
In the newly created 9th District centered on Hall and Forsyth counties, state Rep. Doug Collins has 42 percent of the vote and radio talk-show host Martha Zoller 41 percent. There still are a number of counties still to fully report in that large, Northeast Georgia district.
In the 12th, which Republicans redrew last year to be much more favorable to their party against incumbent Democrat John Barrow, state Rep. Lee Anderson has an early lead in a four-way race. But the Augusta area, home to two of the challengers, has yet to report most of its results.
We might also see a Republican runoff in the 2nd, although incumbent Democrat Sanford Bishop is much safer in his redrawn district than he was in 2010, when he barely held onto his office. Whoever emerges from the GOP side is unlikely to give him nearly as tough a run this year.
Neither Hank Johnson (D) nor Phil Gingrey (R) nor Lynn Westmoreland (R), the only incumbents to face more than one primary challenger, seems likely to end up in a runoff. (Note: I left Westmoreland off that list originally. — KW)
UPDATE at 9:30 p.m.: Two and a half hours after the polls closed, we still don’t have a ton of clarity about how T-SPLOST is faring in metro Atlanta. That’s because Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties are just beginning to report the bulk of their returns. When they do, the 66-34 lead for the “no” vote will narrow considerably. I still look for disapproval of the sales-tax hike by single digits.
That said, the nightmare scenario for state officials seems to be unfolding: Metro Atlanta, for whom the T-SPLOST was created, will vote it down while it passes in other regions, tying the hands of state lawmakers in coming up with Plan B. The tax is currently ahead in the regions surrounding Augusta and Columbus, along with the one in rural southeast-central (ish) Georgia stretching from Wrightsville to Jesup. I still think the only option will be for another vote within a couple of years.
Tonight — or early Wednesday morning — we’ll learn the fate not only of the T-SPLOST in metro Atlanta and 11 other regions around the state. We’ll also find out the winners in a number of elections for Congress and the statehouse, whether other races are going to runoffs, and how the ballot measures fared in the Democratic and GOP primaries.
I’ll update this post as the evening wears on. You can get results here.
– By Kyle Wingfield