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Stage set for Georgia’s May primaries for governor, Congress
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Jason and Pat Bramhall cast their ballots during Election Day at Brenau Downtown Center in Gainesville, on Nov. 7, 2017. - photo by David Barnes

ATLANTA — The list of candidates running for federal, state and local elections in Georgia’s May 22 primary is set, and many of the state’s most prominent political figures face stiff competition within their own party.

Here is a look at Republicans and Democrats who qualified for some of the top races:

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Doug Collins in District 9 will be unopposed in his primary, but will face either Dave Cooper or Josh McCall in the general election.

GOVERNOR

With seven Republicans in the governor’s race, it is a strong possibility that none will get more than 50 percent of the vote, thereby requiring a July runoff.

One of the front-runners, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, gained a national profile recently after his controversial threat to punish Delta Air Lines for its decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association. As part of his platform, Cagle wants to quickly cut taxes by $100 million, invest in infrastructure and “make Georgia the Silicon Valley of the South.”

One of Cagle’s chief rivals in both fundraising and name recognition is Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The lifelong Athens resident has said he wants to focus on the state’s economy, particularly in rural Georgia. He also says he will crack down on illegal immigration.

Hunter Hill served in the state Senate for five years representing the Atlanta area before resigning last year to focus on this year’s race. Hill, an Army veteran, wants to trim government spending and eliminate the state income tax.

Clay Tippins of Atlanta has positioned himself as an outsider who would bring his experience as a businessman and former Navy SEAL to the governor’s office. He has emphasized spending on infrastructure, improving childhood literacy rates and ending Atlanta’s status as a sex-trafficking hub.

Perhaps the most outspoken in the field is Sen. Michael Williams, who advocated against the jet fuel tax exemption days before Cagle took his headline-making stand, calling it “crony capitalism.” The Cumming Republican wants to eliminate the state income tax. He also wants to freeze tuition rates at state colleges and institute term limits for elected state officials.

Two long-shot candidates in the Republican field are restaurant owner Eddie Hayes and Marc Alan Urbach, a former teacher and conservative author who ran for president as a write-in candidate in 2016.

In the Democratic primary, two prominent Staceys — Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans — will face off.

Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House and a celebrated romance novelist, has made economic mobility and affordable health care cornerstones of her campaign. Abrams would be the first African-American woman in the country elected governor..

Evans has staked her campaign largely on championing and expanding the HOPE Scholarship, a program that helped Evans herself become the first in her family to go to college. A lawyer originally from Ringgold, Evans also previously served in the Georgia House, representing the Smyrna area. 

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Three Republicans and two Democrats are running to succeed Cagle as the second-highest elected official in the state and president of the Senate. The Republican primary contains a crowded field of current and former state lawmakers: Sen. David Shafer of Duluth will face former Sen. Rick Jeffares of McDonough and former Rep. Geoff Duncan, who represented Cumming.

Among Democrats, two businesswomen, Sarah Riggs Amico and Triana Arnold James, both of Marietta, will face off.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Four Republicans and three Democrats have qualified in the race to become Georgia’s next secretary of state and oversee the state’s elections process, among other responsibilities.

The Republicans in the race are former Alpharetta mayor David Belle Isle, Rep. Buzz Brockway of Lawrenceville, Sen. Josh McKoon of Columbus and Rep. Brad Raffensperger of Johns Creek.

The three Dempcrats in the race are former U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Athens, former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler of Lithonia, and former Rockdale County tax commissioner RJ Hadley of Conyers.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

In the race to be the state’s top prosecutor, incumbent Chris Carr is running unopposed in the Republican primary for Attorney General, while Charlie Bailey is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Georgia primary qualifiers

REPUBLICANS

  • Governor: Casey Cagle, Eddie Hayes, Hunter Hill, Brian Kemp, Clay Tippins, Marc Urbach, Michael Williams
  • Lieutenant Governor: Geoff Duncan, Rick Jeffares, David Shafer
  • Secretary of State: David Belle Isle, Buzz Brockway, Josh McKoon, Brad Raffensperger
  • Attorney General: Chris Carr (incumbent)
  • Commissioner of Agriculture: Gary Black (incumbent)
  • Commissioner of Insurance: Jim Beck, Jay Florence, Tracy Jordan
  • School Superintendent: John Barge, Dr. Sonia Francis-Rolle, Richard Woods (incumbent)
  • Commissioner of Labor: Mark Butler (incumbent)
  • Public Service Commission: District 3, Chuck Eaton (incumbent); District 5, John Hitchins III, Tricia Pridemore

DEMOCRATS

  • Governor: Stacey Abrams, Stacey Evans
  • Lieutenant Governor: Sarah Riggs Amico, Triana Arnold James
  • Secretary Of State: John Barrow, Rakeim “Rj” Hadley, Dee Dawkins-Haigler
  • Attorney General: Charlie Bailey
  • Commissioner Of Agriculture: Fred Swann
  • Commissioner Of Insurance: Janice Laws, Cindy Zeldin
  • School Superintendent: Sid Chapman, Sam Mosteller Otha E. Thornton Jr. 
  • Commissioner of Labor: Richard Keatley, Fred Quinn
  • Public Service Commission: District 3, John Noel, Lindy Miller, Johnny C. White; District 5, Dawn A. Randolph, Doug Stoner, Dougstonerforga.Com

GENERAL ELECTION

  • Governor: Independent, Larry E Odom; Libertarian, Ted Metz
  • Secretary Of State: Libertarian, Smythe Duval
  • Commissioner Of Insurance: Libertarian, Donnie Foster
  • Public Service Commission: District 3, Libertarian Ryan Graham; District 5, Libertarian John Turpish

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