Originally created 07/22/98

Boswell takes early lead in Attorney General primary



ATLANTA -- Former Clayton County Judge Stephen Boswell took the lead over three other Republicans in early returns Tuesday in the GOP primary for a chance to unseat Democratic Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

The other GOP candidates were State Sen. David Ralston of Blue Ridge, former federal prosecutor Jim Harper of Atlanta and former state Rep. Kip Klein of Marietta.

In returns from 192 out of 2,751 precincts, Mr. Boswell, from Jonesboro, had 6,420 votes, or 32 percent. Mr. Ralston received 5,081 votes, or 26 percent. Mr. Harper had 4,369 votes, or 22 percent, and Mr. Klein had 3,913 votes, or 20 percent.

If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the two top finishers will meet in a runoff.

Mr. Baker, who drew no Democratic opposition, will face the Republican nominee in the November general election.

Mr. Baker, the state's first black attorney general, was appointed by Gov. Zell Miller a year ago to finish Republican Mike Bowers' term after Mr. Bowers left the office to run for governor.

Abolishing or curbing parole was a major issue in the race. Mr. Ralston focused on the parole issue in his first television ad.

Meanwhile, the husband of a former Miss America took the early lead Tuesday over an Atlanta businessman in the Republican primary for Georgia secretary of state.

With 242 out of 2,751 precincts reporting, John McCallum received 12,835 votes, or 60 percent. His opponent, Charlie Bailey, had 8,552 votes, or 40 percent.

The winner of the primary will face Democrat Cathy Cox, 39, a former state lawmaker who was appointed assistant secretary of state in 1996. She was unopposed in her party's primary.