To no one’s surprise, the 12th District contest to pick a Republican opponent for U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, turned out to be the closest race of the evening.
State Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, with the help of Gov. Nathan Deal, edged out Augusta businessman and self-funder Rick Allen by a mere 154 votes out of 27,406 cast.
The Associated Press indicates that six precinct boxes are outstanding.
But if those results hold, Gov. Nathan Deal would emerge as the winner of Tuesday evening. State Rep. Doug Collins, the governor’s choice in the 9th District race, easily defeated former radio talk show host Martha Zoller.
Worried about the anti-incumbent fever that still lingered from the TSPLOST debacle in July, Deal kept a low profile in each contest until the final weekend, when he boosted Collins and Anderson in robocalls throughout the two districts.
The former governor of Alaska is now 0-for-2 in Georgia races. Sarah Palin had endorsed Zoller, though she made no personal appearance to back up her choice. Palin had also endorsed Karen Handel in the 2010 Republican race for governor.
The 9th District race had pitted north Georgia mountain sentiments against the tea party tidal wave. Zell Miller, the former governor and U.S. senator, had backed Collins – his grandson, Bryan Miller, was Collins’ campaign manager.
Speaker David Ralston can be counted as a victor as well. One of his House members – Collins – is all but guaranteed to be in Washington on January. And Anderson will have an instant $1 million at his back from the National Republican Congressional Committee to take on Barrow.
The Aug. 21, 2012 primary runoffs were a collection of mad, three-week dashes that you’re not likely to see again. The U.S. Department of Justice has demanded that Georgia change its election calendar in order to guarantee that overseas military voters are able to cast their ballots.
Georgia could simply abandon primary runoffs, as many states have — although this is unlikely, given that Gov. Nathan Deal won his GOP nomination via that runoff with Karen Handel.
More likely, statewide primaries will be pushed into June, and runoff campaigns will become leisurely, six- or eight-week affairs.
A rare coalition of Democrats and Republicans in Bibb County on Tuesday failed to save Miriam Paris, the former Macon councilwoman who lost the state Senate seat she won in a special election last year.
The Democratic runoff was a re-match with former state Rep. David Lucas, a 37-year veteran of the House. From the Macon Telegraph:
During this campaign, like last year’s, [Lucas] painted Paris as a “Republican pawn” who signed off on new area voting maps that Lucas said diluted minority voting strength in Macon.
That included a new map for District 26 that added more rural voters by adding Washington and Hancock counties and southern Jones County.
Paris refuted those claims by describing herself as a “fourth-generation Democrat.”
The campaign heated up late when a mailer arrived in homes last week accusing Lucas of being “asleep on the job” during his long legislative career. The flier, which featured a photo of Lucas yawning on the House floor, was sent out by a group calling itself Georgia Forward.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at Clayton County’s boasts about its school system’s teachers.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider