Updated at 11:50 p.m.:Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for all of your attention this evening. I’ll check in with you tomorrow morning.
Updated at 11:15 p.m.: On the Republican side of the 8th District congressional contest, state Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton), who until this spring was a candidate for governor, has apparently won the nomination without a runoff.
With 89 percent of the vote in, Scott is at 53 percent. Which prompted this bruising welcome from Doug Moore, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon):
“Austin Scott’s been in the legislature his whole adult life, He’s a career politician looking for his next job. Ran for governor, found no takers. Ran for Lieutenant Governor, got run off, and was told to run for Congress.
“He’s voted against taxing illegal immigrants, but he’s voted for, even proposed, multiple new tax increases on every Georgian.
“Politics makes strange bedfellows, but with Jim’s record of protecting and helping the people of this district, it’s hard to see why anyone would support Scott.”
Updated at 11:02 p.m.: The following Twitter just arrived from the Republican Governors Association:
Former Dem Gov Roy Barnes has run for gov 4 times, his act is tired. More Barnes/Obama. GA won’t have it. GOP candidate will run strong.
Had Karen Handel made it into a runoff against John Oxendine, there was talk that the RGA might have entered the runoff on Handel’s behalf.
But that possibility disappears with Nathan Deal as Handel’s second-act partner. Deal has backing that Oxendine didn’t – several Georgia congressmen in particular.
Updated at 10:51 p.m.:Two Republican senators from Cobb County faced tough primary challenges tonight.
With half the vote in, Judson Hill of Marietta appears to be weathering a challenge from former state lawmaker Lynda Coker. Hill has 63 percent of the vote.
But with 62 percent of the vote in, John Wiles of Kennesaw appears headed toward defeat by challenger Lindsey Tippins, a former member of the Cobb school board.
Late last year, Wiles was embroiled in a local furor over a teen-drinking party in west Cobb. But Tippins also hammered Wiles over passage of $96 million in new fees by the state Legislature, and a $370 million hospital bed tax.
This is a race that could have repercussions when the General Assembly gathers next year.
Updated at 10:41 p.m.:The upset on the Republican side of the 7th District congressional race continues to unfold.
A runoff is all but certain, but with 36 percent of precincts reporting, Rob Woodall – former chief of staff to retiring Congessman John Linder – holds a commanding 37 percent lead.
State Rep. Clay Cox of Lilburn, the most monied candidate in the race, who was armed with the endorsements from tea party leaders and the most important inhabitants of the state Capitol, is running third, with 19 percent.
In second is Jody Hice with 27 percent. Hice is a pastor and a talk radio jockey – though he doesn’t air in metro Atlanta. He’s also the fellow with billboards accusing President Barack Obama of dragging the U.S. into hammer-and-sickle territory.
Hice also promised not to make robo-calls to people on the political do-not-call list.
Updated at 10:10 p.m.: Cobb County is weighing in on the GOP race for attorney general, giving former commission chairman Sam Olens a 12,000-vote bump.
He’s now taken a narrow lead over Preston Smith of Rome and Max Wood of Macon.
But on the Democratic side, Ken Hodges, the former Dougherty County prosecutor, is beating state lawmaker Rob Teilhet in his native Cobb.
Overall, with nearly half the vote in, Hodges is leading with 67 percent of the vote. You can pretty much call this one done.
Updated at 10:01 p.m.:The mark of the incumbent isn’t proving deadly tonight.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the only statewide Republican office-holder with primary opposition, has a nearly 60 percent lead over challenger Douglas MacGinnitie.
You’ll recall that Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Kemp, then a mere candidate, to finish out the term of Karen Handel, who tonight is moving on to bigger and better things.
Internal GOP resentment over Perdue’s decision to weigh into the contest on behalf of a former fellow state senator doesn’t seem to be playing out at the grassroots.
(MacGinnitie has since conceded, we’re told.)
Updated at 9:51 p.m.: With a quarter of the Hall County vote in, Nathan Deal is pulling 63 percent, or 7,600 ballots. They like him up there.
Next closest is Karen Handel with 1,810 votes, or 15 percent.
Updated at 9:16 p.m.: Fifty-seven percent of the vote has been counted in Fayette County, a solidly Republican place with no geographic ties to any of the GOP candidates for governor.
– Karen Handel, 4,401 votes;
– Nathan Deal, 2,690 votes;
– Eric Johnson, 1,975 votes;
– And John Oxendine, 1,550 votes.
The campaign by the fellow with the most cash and the most television time appears to be cratering.
Updated at 9:16 p.m.: At least in rural Georgia, we have a barn-burner of a GOP race for attorney general.
Max Wood of Macon, Preston Smith of Rome, and Sam Olens of Cobb County are all within 800 or so votes of each other.
But the big surburban counties, including Cobb, have yet to weigh in.
Updated at 9:08 p.m.: We may have our first upset of the evening brewing in the 7th District race to replace U.S. Rep. John Linder.
In an eight-man Republican field, Rob Woodall – Linder’s former chief of staff – is leading state lawmaker Clay Cox, 39 percent to 23 percent.
Cox is the designated candidate of the tea partyists and Gov. Sonny Perdue, plus House Speaker David Ralston. Woodall leads in all three counties in the district, but most massively in Gwinnett.
Jody Hice, the talk radio pastor, is close behind Cox, at 20 percent — apparently splitting the conservative Christian vote.
Updated at 8:56 p.m.: No signs of a tea party revolt in GOP state Senate races – so far.
With 8 percent of precincts reporting, Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour (R-Snellville) is drawing 63 percent of the vote against two challengers.
Updated at 8:45 p.m.: U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson doesn’t appear to be capsizing in the 4th District congressional race. He’s at 56 percent above Vernon Jones (23 percent) and Connie Stokes (20 percent).
But those returns are only from the Rockdale and Gwinnett county portions of the Fourth.
Updated at 8:37 p.m.: From the Associated Press:
Georgia’s newest congressman, Rep. Tom Graves, is leading a crowded Republican primary field barely a month after he won a special election in the state’s 9th District.
Unofficial early returns Tuesday showed Graves with 49 percent of the vote, well ahead of his five GOP challengers, with 10 percent of precincts reporting.
Lee Hawkins of Gainesville, the man Graves defeated in a June runoff election, was second with 19 percent.
Updated at 8:30 p.m. Only 7 percent of the vote is in from Gwinnett County, the base of state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. But Oxendine is running fourth, behind former state senator Eric Johnson of Savannah.
Updated at 8:22 p.m.: Early returns have Jim Martin leading by 56 percent in the three-way Democratic race for school superintendent.
Updated at 8:12 p.m.: In the Democratic race for attorney general, Ken Hodges, the former Dougherty County prosecutor, is kicking it with 72 percent of the vote over Cobb County state lawmaker Rob Teilhet.
But reports are largely rural, so no celebrations yet.
On the Republican side, Sam Olens of Cobb County is running behind both Max Wood of Macon and Preston Smith of Floyd County. But again, those are rural votes talking. Suburbia has yet to weigh in.
Posted at 7:59 p.m.: The real suspense of the evening, obviously, is on the Republican side of the race for governor.
Here’s the county-by-county link to the secretary of state’s web site.
One can hardly get worked up over whether Roy Barnes will win the Democratic nomination with or without a runoff. Besides, that will be determined by Fulton and DeKalb counties – usually the slowest to report full returns.
I’ll be keeping my eye on Gwinnett County, the geographic base of state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. If he falters there, this could be a long night for the most familiar man on the statewide Republican ballot.
So far Gwinnett hasn’t shown up in the returns.
On the Democratic side, keep an eye on Carol Porter and the race for lieutenant governor. Her campaign has harbored secret worries that her opponent, Patricia McCracken, could be another Alvin Greene.
You have to admit, “Let loose the Cracken!” would make a fine slogan for November.
We’ll be rolling on this post through the evening, so feel free to add any harbingers you see – in any race, statewide or local.