A former mayor in west Georgia won the Republican nomination to replace a retiring GOP congressman as runoff elections were held across the state Tuesday, which proved to be a bad night for three incumbent state lawmakers and the county chairman who brokered the Atlanta Braves’ move to the suburbs.
Georgians returned to the polls in several races that required runoffs because no candidate won more than half the vote in the May 24 primaries.
The Georgia secretary of state’s office says about 20 percent of registered voters turned out for the primary two months ago.
Here’s a look at the top Georgia runoffs Tuesday:
SHOWDOWN OVER BRAVES STADIUM
As the Atlanta Braves prepare to leave the city, voters in the team’s new home of suburban Cobb County turned against the local official who engineered the stadium deal.
Tim Lee, chairman of the Cobb County Commission, trailed by a wide margin late Tuesday behind retired Marine Corps officer Mike Boyce, according to unofficial returns posted by the Cobb County Board of Elections.
Though a few precincts had not reported vote totals, Lee conceded the race to Boyce, the Marietta Daily Journal reported.
Lee finished second in the May primary behind Boyce, who criticized the secrecy of negotiations between Lee and the Braves. Boyce argued bonds shouldn’t have been issued in the deal without first being approved by voters.
Lee defended the deal, saying the new SunTrust Park will boost the local economy and negotiations had to begin privately as most sensitive development projects do.
GEORGIA HOUSE CHALLENGES
Three incumbents in the Georgia House failed to overcome challengers in races marked by low voter turnout.
Rep. Tom Dickson, a Cohutta Republican, lost to Chatsworth farmer Jason Ridley in a GOP campaign focused on education. No Democrats signed up to run for the seat.
Rep. John Yates, a Griffin Republican was defeated by Griffin chiropractor Karen Mathiak. Yates, the last World War II veteran serving in the Legislature, had been in office for more than two decades. Now Mathiak faces Democrat Rahim Talley in November.
And unofficial returns showed Democratic Rep. Darryl Jordan of Riverdale finished just 70 votes behind Rhonda Burnough, a Riverdale school administrator, in a district representing parts of Clayton County. No Republican was running for the seat.
Republican voters chose former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson as their nominee to replace retiring GOP Rep. Lynn Westmoreland in the 3rd Congressional District.
Ferguson won a GOP primary runoff election Tuesday against state Sen. Mike Crane.
Ferguson was supported by five of his former opponents from the May primary as well as Westmoreland, who called Ferguson “a strong, conservative voice.”
Crane ran on his reputation as one of the Senate’s most socially conservative members and campaigned Friday with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Ferguson touted his support for law enforcement.
BLACK CAUCUS LEADER
After giving up her state House seat to run for the Senate, the leader of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus fell short of a runoff victory.
Unofficial returns showed Dee Dawkins-Haigler, a Lithonia minister, finished just eight votes short of fellow Democrat and pastor Tonya Anderson of Lithonia. The margin separating the rivals was close enough to trigger a re-count of the more than 8,500 votes cast.
In the fall, the runoff winner will face GOP Sen. JaNice Van Ness of Conyers, who won a special election last year in the competitive district.