The Tuesday (May 24) primary result in Georgia has set the stage for the major candidates who will be vying for office in the November election in a political landscape that is considered a snapshot of how politics may shake out on the national stage.
In addition to the first Black woman to run a viable campaign for the governor’s mansion, Georgia also sees the first time in history two Black men from the same state have won their parties' nominations to campaign to serve in the U.S. Senate. Georgia also completed redistricting for its members of the U.S. House of Representatives, which forced two female congressional representatives to face each other in another history-making race.
Raphael Warnock, whose election in 2020 along with Jon Ossoff, gave Democrats control of the Senate, easily defeated in-party challenger Tamara Johnson-Shealey. Popular among Democrats, he is pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., once preached sermons. He now will face University of Georgia Heisman trophy winner-turned politician Herschel Walker, a conservative who has courted several far-right wing positions, including one in which he opposes abortion under any circumstance. Walker avoided debates and political forums where he would have been queried about his positions but at the same time has reportedly nearly matched Warnock in fundraising. He beat out five other GOP candidates in the primary and secured more than 70 percent of the vote.
The race will be a critical contest that could determine control of Congress as Democrats will be trying to hang on to as many seats as possible amid disappointment of their performance since the 2020 presidential election. In a poll conducted in April by WXIA, Warnock was 5 percent ahead of Walker, keeping a slight edge over him. The two will now likely dig in their heels, Warnock with the new, but established Democratic political machine that has also pushed back against voter suppression; and Walker with other Trump-backed politicians in the state like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who also won her primary on Tuesday as well.
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Rep. Lucy McBath claimed victory in her member-versus-member Democratic race.
McBath defeated Democratic incumbent Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux. Georgia’s Republican-controlled state legislature’s redistricting process caused her to leave her 6th District seat to run against Bourdeaux in the newly drawn 7th district which neighbors the 6th. Considered a friendlier district for Democrats, McBath cleared a "50% +1 vote" threshold to avoid a runoff. Her victory is
seen as a win for Georgia progressives.
McBath’s victory ove the more moderate Bourdeaux is seen as a victory for the more left-leaning factions of Georgia’s Democratic politicians, who find themselves surrounded by conservatives who wish to turn the state red again after it flipped blue when it voted for President Biden in 2020. But it is not likely to determine much direction for the party since the two have similar congressional voting records.
An unlikely politician, McBath was elected in 2018 after becoming a gun control advocate following the death of her son, Jordan Davis, in 2012. He was shot and killed at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station when a white man shot into the SUV the 17 year old was riding in. Shooter Michael Dunn, who had traveled to town for a wedding, claimed the music in the vehicle was too loud. He was convicted and is now serving a life sentence.
RELATED: Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath Writes Emotional Birthday Letter To Son, Jordan Davis, Who Died By Gun Violence
Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the gubernatorial election in 2018 ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination will officially face off a second time against Gov. Brian Kemp, who defeated Sen. David Perdue, who was among several Republican candidates in Georgia backed by former president Donald Trump.
A win for Abrams would make her the first African American woman to hold the office of governor in U.S. history and would be a major rebuff of conservative politics, which Abrams and her supporters have long accused of targeting voting rights in Georgia, particularly among people of color. It was one of the major sticking points behind her insistence that the votes were suppressed, and she never offered a concession after losing the race by 1.4 percentage points.
But a loss would entrench Republican power in a battleground state that the GOP sees as key in winning in the 2024 presidential election. But a Kemp win wouldn’t necessarily mean a Trump win. The two parted when Kemp’s administration backed the election being certified in favor of Biden.
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