Originally created 07/22/98

Former Gingrich aid wins

ATLANTA -- The husband of a former Miss America defeated an Atlanta businessman Tuesday in the Republican primary for Georgia secretary of state.

With 1,835 of 2,751 precincts reporting, John McCallum had 108,507 votes, or 59 percent. His opponent, Charlie Bailey, had 75,339 votes, or 41 percent.

Mr. McCallum 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.

Mr. McCallum, 28, a former aide to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is married to former Miss America Heather Whitestone. He now runs the company that oversees his wife's personal appearances.

He used ex-Christian Coalition Director Ralph Reed as his political consultant.

Mr. McCallum's message was one of paring the office. He said he would order an audit to decide what could be cut.

Mr. Bailey, 52, was fond of saying that experience is more important than the fame of a candidate's spouse. He runs an Atlanta business that specializes in helping other businesses experiencing cash flow problems.

He unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state in 1996.

The secretary of state oversees the boards that regulate many professions and occupations, supervises elections, keeps records and handles corporate charters.

The current secretary of state, Democrat Lewis Massey, is running for governor.

Meanwhile, former Clayton County judge Stephen Boswell and State Sen. David Ralston appeared headed for a runoff Tuesday in the Republican primary for a chance to unseat Democratic Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

The other GOP candidates were former federal prosecutor Jim Harper of Atlanta and former state Rep. Kip Klein of Marietta.

With 1,789 out of 2,751 precincts reporting, Mr. Ralston, of Blue Ridge, had 58,637 votes, or 29 percent. Mr. Boswell, from Jonesboro, had 54,668 votes, or 27 percent. Mr. Klein had 50,053 votes, or 24 percent, and Mr. Harper had 42,103 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.

Two other candidates pushed their own anti-crime proposals. Mr. Harper and Mr. Klein each promised to coordinate with local authorities to crack down on gangs and other organized criminal rings.

Every candidate, including Mr. Baker, supported the death penalty. Mr. Boswell, a former Superior Court judge, said his top priority would be speedier resolution of death penalty cases.

Whoever wins the November election, which will include Libertarian candidate Walker Chandler of Zebulon, will represent the state in lawsuits challenging affirmative action and seeking damages from tobacco companies.


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