State Supreme Court and Republican congressional primary elections top Georgia ballots

ATLANTA– Georgia’s elections on Tuesday include a race for the state Supreme Court that has become unusually heated by the lethargic standards of the state’s nonpartisan judicial elections, as well as a five-way Republican Party primary for an open seat in the heavily Republican 3rd. Congressional district south and west of Atlanta. .

Two incumbent Democratic members of Congress — U.S. Reps. David Scott and Lucy McBath — are facing primary challengers in metro Atlanta districts redrawn by Republicans following redistricting lawsuits.

The parties also choose their nominees for other legislative and state seats and local offices, including sheriffs, district attorneys and county commissioners.

Runoffs will take place on June 18 in races where candidates do not win a majority.

Here’s a look at the major races:

The May 21 elections are the general elections for candidates for the judiciary, who run without a party label.

Incumbent Judge Andrew Pinson, who was appointed to the nine-member court by Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022, is seeking a six-year term. He is opposed by John Barrow, a former Democratic congressman.

Barrow says he believes Georgians have a right to abortion under the state constitution, while Pinson says it’s inappropriate for him to talk about issues and it’s important not to make race partisan.

Kemp and other conservatives stepped in to help Pinson. Barrow unsuccessfully sued in federal court, saying a state judicial body violated his right to free speech when the body warned Barrow that his discussion of abortion may have violated judicial ethics.

Judges Michael Boggs, John Ellington and Nels Peterson are unopposed. Six judges on the Georgia Court of Appeals are also unopposed, with Jeff Davis and Tabitha Ponder vying for an open seat on the court.

Five Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination to succeed Republican U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, who is stepping down after four terms.

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed his former aide Brian Jack for the seat. Jack, who later worked for then-U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, parlayed the support of Trump and his Washington contacts into a fundraising leader during his first run for office.

Former Secretary of State Mike Crane and Mike Dugan, former State Rep. Philip Singleton and party activist Jim Bennett are also seeking the nomination. Dugan highlighted his successes as Senate majority leader, while Crane emphasized his religious beliefs and opposition to abortion. Singleton promised not to compromise conservative principles.

The Republican candidate will be the favorite in a heavily Republican district that runs along the Alabama border from Carrollton to Columbus and meanders east to the Atlanta suburbs around Peachtree City and Fayetteville.

On the Democratic side, Val Almonord and Maura Keller are seeking their party’s nomination.

Scott faces six Democratic challengers in the 13th District in Atlanta’s southern and eastern suburbs as he seeks a 12th term. Challengers include former East Point City Councilwoman Karen Rene, former South Fulton City Councilman Mark Baker and attorney Brian Johnson. On the Republican side, Jonathan Chavez is running against Johsie Cruz Fletcher.

The 13th District was significantly reconfigured on a new map, moving north and east into Rockdale County and parts of Newton and Gwinnett counties. Challengers say Scott, 78, is too old and out of touch. Scott said in March that he is seeking another term to increase funding for historically black colleges like Fort Valley State University and provide more help to struggling homeowners.

McBath is running in her second new district in two years. In 2022, she jumped to a district that included parts of Gwinnett and Fulton counties, defeating fellow Democratic incumbent Carolyn Bourdeaux in a primary. Republicans sharply reconfigured McBath’s district again last year in a second round of redistricting after a court ordered new maps to address discrimination against black voters. She then moved to the new Democratic-leaning 6th District on Atlanta’s west side, which has no incumbent.

McBath, whose son was shot and killed, has made gun control and reducing gun violence her primary focus. She also says she wants to work on reducing health care inequality in a next term. She faces primary opposition from Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson and state Rep. Mandisha Thomas, Democrats who say they could better represent the new 6th District. The Democratic winner will face Republican Jeff Criswell in November.

Two years ago, Republicans hoped they would have a chance to replace 16-year Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop Jr. in Southwest Georgia’s 2nd District. But Bishop won that election easily. Now four more Republicans are lining up to take a shot at a bishop who is unopposed on the Democratic ballot.

Wayne Johnson of Macon, who served as an official at the U.S. Department of Education under Trump, finished third in the Republican primary two years ago and is again seeking the nomination. Among other candidates is Chuck Hand, a Taylor County Republican Party official and building inspector who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegally demonstrating at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail and six months of probation. Also in attendance are Michael Nixon, of Thomasville, a hospital purchasing director and Air Force veteran, and Regina “Reggie” Liparoto, of Columbus, a longtime conservative activist.

Four Democrats in Georgia’s 14th District are vying for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has no Republican opposition.

The Democrats are adviser Clarence Blalock of Hiram; retired Army Gen. Shawn Harris, of Cedartown; sales manager Deric Houston, of Dallas; and business manager Joseph Leigh, of Rossville. Harris has raised by far the most money of the four.

For most candidates, their biggest problem is their dislike of Greene, a key Trump ally who recently failed in a bid to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson. The winner will face an uphill battle in a heavily Republican district. Two years ago, Democrat Marcus Flowers raised more than $16 million in his challenge against Greene, but still lost badly.

Republican U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk is the only other sitting president facing a major challenge. Retired banker and longtime Republican activist Lori Marie Pesta and retired pilot Mike Pons are running against Loudermilk in the 11th Congressional District northwest of Atlanta. Antonio Daza and Kate Stamper are seeking the Democratic nomination.

Democrats are also choosing nominees to challenge Republican incumbents in South and Central Georgia’s 8th District, Northeast Georgia’s 10th District and in the 12th District around Augusta.