Statewide races in Georgia shape up for November

Contests are governor and U.S. Senate are expected to generate the most interest in November

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ATLANTA — At least two of the final three contested party nominations for statewide state and federal offices that Georgians will decide in November were determined in runoff elections Tuesday.

The two most hotly contested races were on the Republican side of the ballot, where businessman David Perdue nudged past U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston to claim the party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in early January by retiring two-term U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie.

Perdue claimed 50.9 percent of the 482,919 votes cast statewide — 245,726 — to outdistance Kingston by a margin of 8,533, according to unofficial totals Wednesday from the Secretary of State’s Office. Officials with the state elections office noted that provisional ballots have not been counted.

As the GOP nominee, Perdue will face Democrat Michelle Nunn, who will be in Albany today for a campaign appearance at Thronateeska Heritage Center, and Libertarian Amanda Swafford in the Nov. 4 general election.

The three are vying for the Senate seat that was held by Nunn’s father, Sam Nunn, from 1972 until he retired from the Upper Chamber in 1997. Perdue has political family connections as well. His cousin Sonny Perdue served two terms as Georgia governor, the first Republican to hold that office since Reconstruction. Gov. Sonny Perdue was succeeded in 2011 by current Gov. Nathan Deal, also a Republican.

Even closer Tuesday was the race for the GOP nomination for state school superintendent, one in which a recount is likely. Richard Woods is the apparent winner over Michael Buck, with only two-tenths of a percentage point separating the pair. Woods was listed with 199,260 votes, 50.1 percent, to Buck’s 198,535, or 49.9 percent. With 397,793 votes cast in the race, that is only a 725-vote difference.

The only Democratic runoff race Tuesday — for that party’s nomination for state school superintendent — was more easily decided. Valarie Wilson received 73,590 of the 135,318 votes cast, or 54.4 percent, to outdistance her opponent, Alisha Morgan, whose 61,728 votes constituted 45.6 percent of the turnout.

In addition to those races, November ballots across the state will be headlined by the gubernatorial race between Republican Deal; Democratic challenger state Sen. Jason Carter, the grandson of former President and Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, and Libertarian Andrew Hunt.

Other statewide races on the Nov. 4 ballot will include:

— Lieutenant governor: incumbent Republican Casey Cagle and Democrat Connie Stokes;

— Secretary of state: incumbent Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Doreen Carter;

— Attorney general: incumbent Republican Sam Olens and Democrat Gregory Heicht;

— Agriculture commissioner: incumbent Republican Gary Black and Democrat Christopher Irvin;

— Insurance and safety fire commissioner: incumbent Republican Ralph Hudgens, Democrat Elizabeth Johnson and Libertarian Edward Metz;

— Labor commissioner: incumbent Republican Mark Butler and Democrat Robbin Shipp.