ALBANY — House 153 challenger CaMia Hopson pulled off a monumental upset Tuesday in the House District 153 Democratic Primary, ousting incumbent Darrel Ealum by 90 votes.
With all precincts reporting, Hopson pulled in 1,928 votes (51.28 percent), while Ealum, who was first elected to the House in 2010, tallied 1,832 votes (48.72 percent). The numbers stuck, and Hopson will face Republican challenger Tracy Taylor in the November general election.
“I’m ecstatic right now,” Hopson said moments after final results were announced. “I think there were a couple of things that made the difference in this race. One, the people who know me know I really care about making our community better. And two, I think people have just reached a point where they expect more from the people who represent them.”
Now the question is does she have a strategy against Republican Tracy Taylor in November’s general election?
“I really haven’t thought beyond the primary because I knew we had to get through this,” she said. “That’s where I focused my energy. I plan to get some much-needed rest now and then start putting together a plan for Nov. 6.”
Reached earlier in the evening, Ealum quickly knew he was in trouble as the precinct numbers trickled in.
“It’s not looking good for me right now,” he said with 10 precincts and absentee and early voting yet to be counted. “I could win the remaining precincts and early and absentee ballots and still don’t know if I would have enough votes to catch up.”
Also reached earlier in the evening, Hopson said she knew she had a chance to win.
“We knew with the early numbers we were seeing hold, we could win,” she said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”
Asked if he thought a recent dust-up with the Marine Corps Logistics Base, Sen. Freddie Powell Sims and Dougherty Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas over the use of photographs in perceived campaign literature hurt him in the ballot box, Ealum paused for a long time before answering.
“You can’t dwell on what was perceived to be a misstep,” he said. “My focus was on winning this campaign so I could continue to serve the people of southwest Georgia. Serving Albany and Dougherty County as a state representative has been the biggest honor of my life.”
Hopson was a novice to the political arena, having run in only one other race. In the five-person 2017 Ward II Albany City Commission election, she missed getting into a runoff with eventual winner Matt Fuller by only a handful of votes. She said she learned a lot from that race, and she tried to use those lessons in her quest to upset Ealum.
“I obviously don’t have the money he has to put into my campaign, so it’s been basically a lot of grassroots,” she said. “It’s a big district, so I mapped out a strategy to meet and talk with as many people as I can. It’s like that thing about eating an elephant: One bite at a time.”
In statewide elections of note:
With 92 percent of the vote in in the GOP race for the governor’s office, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp appear headed for a runoff. Cagle stood at 38.91 percent of the vote, while Kemp garnered 25.73 percent. Democrat Stacey Abrams crushed Stacey Evans by more that 250,000 votes, winning 75.96 percent to 24.04 percent in that party’s primary.
In the GOP race for lieutenant governor, David Shaffer appeared headed to a runoff with Geoff Duncan. Shaffer claimed 48.68 percent of the vote, while Duncan trailed at 26.75 percent. On the Democratic side, Sarah Amico easily led Triana James 55.41 percent to 44.59 percent.
In the race to claim outgoing Court of Appeals Judge John Ellington’s seat, Albany native Ken Hodges outpolled Ken Shigley 69.95 percent to 30.05 percent.
All returns are unofficial.