2012 elections preview: Georgia voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries

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July 30, 2012

By Jennifer Springer

The primary season continues with elections in Georgia tomorrow.

Here's what to watch for in Georgia, where polling places will be open from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM Eastern Time .[1]

Department of Justice sues over voting deadlines

On June 29, 2012, the Department of Justice filed a suit in federal court against the state of Georgia, alleging that service members, their family members and overseas civilian voters won’t have time to vote by absentee ballot in runoff elections, if they are required.[2] According to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (dead link) (UOCAVA), states must transmit all validly requested ballots to UOCAVA voters at least 45 days before an election, unless a hardship exemption is obtained, for which Georgia failed to file.[2] However, this conflicts with the timeline for runoff elections, in which the primary runoff, by law, must be held 21 days after the regular or special primary election, and if a runoff is required after the Nov. 6 general election, it will be held 28 days later, on Dec. 4, which also wouldn’t provide the required 45 days.[2]

As part of the lawsuit, the Department of Justice is asking Georgia to "extend the ballot receipt deadline to Aug. 31 for these voters, to send ballots by express delivery as soon as possible before the Aug. 21 runoff election, and inform UOCAVA voters no later than July 7 of their right to request a state write-in absentee ballot or their official absentee ballot for any runoff election by downloading it from the Internet, by email, or by fax."[2]

Contested Primaries in Georgia -- July 31, 2012
U.S. House
(14 seats)
State Legislature
(236 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 4 (28.57%) 33 (13.98%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 8 (57.14%) 45 (19.08%)

Congress

United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia, 2012

Georgia has a total of 14 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 43 candidates have filed to run, made up of 11 Democratic challengers, 20 Republican challengers, and 12 incumbents. A total of 308 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 56.66% of possible primaries have been contested. Georgia's contested figure of 42.86% (12 out of 28 possible party primaries) is less competitive than the national average.

In addition to Jack Kingston, 6th District incumbent Tom Price, 8th District incumbent Austin Scott, 12th District incumbent John Barrow, 13th District incumbent David Scott, and 9th District incumbent Tom Graves running in the 14th District are all running unopposed for re-election. Incumbent Scott faces no competition in either the Republican primary or the general election, guaranteeing him re-election.

In the 13th and 14th districts, both incumbents and challengers are running unopposed in their respective primaries, and will face off in the general election.

Democratic PartyIn the 1st District, Lesli Rae Messinger and Nathan Russo are facing off for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent Jack Kingston is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Messinger received endorsements from District 96 Representative Pedro Marin[3] and 2008 candidate Bill Gillespie.[4] Incumbent Kingston received endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Business[5] and Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.[6]

Democratic PartyIncumbent Hank Johnson faces Courtney L. Dillard, Sr. and Lincoln Nunnally in the 4th District Democratic primary. J. Chris Vaughn and Greg Pallen will face off for the Republican nomination.

Republican PartyGeorgia's 2nd District Republican primary has three candidates, John House, Ken DeLoach, and Rick Allen facing off for the chance to advance to the general election to take on incumbent Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. Bishop is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. House received endorsements from the Georgia Right to Life[7] and Georgia representative Mike Keown.[8]

Republican PartyNo Democratic candidates filed to run in Georgia's 3rd District. The winner of the Republican primary will win the seat. Incumbent Lynn A. Westmoreland faces challengers Kent Kingsley and Chip Flanegan in the primary election.

Democratic PartyIncumbent John Lewis will face Michael Johnson in the 5th District Democratic primary. Howard Stopeck is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Democratic PartyDemocratic candidates Jeff Kazanow and Robert Montigel will face off in the 6th District for the nomination, and the opportunity to take on incumbent Tom Price in the general election.

Republican PartyRepublican incumbent Rob Woodall will face David Hancock in the 8th District. The winner of the primary will take on candidate Steve Reilly (D) in the general election.

Republican PartyGeorgia's 9th District has no incumbent, as it was newly formed in the redistricting process. The incumbent of the previous 9th District, Tom Graves will run in the 14th District. Doug Collins, Martha Zoller, and Roger D. Fitzpatrick will face off in the Republican primary, while Jody Cooley will run unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

Republican PartyChallenger Stephen Simpson will face incumbent Paul Broun in the 10th District Republican primary. No candidates filed to run on the Democratic ticket, so the winner of the primary will take the seat.

Republican Party11th District incumbent Phil Gingrey faces challengers William Llop and Michael S. Opitz in the Republican primary. The winner will take on Patrick Thompson (D) in the general election.

Republican PartyGeorgia's 12th District has 4 Republican candidates vying for the nomination. Rick Allen, Lee Anderson, Wright McLeod and Maria Sheffield will face off for the opportunity to take on incumbent John Barrow in the general election.


Members of the U.S. House from Georgia -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 5 5
     Republican Party 8 9
Total 13 14

State legislature

Georgia State Senate elections, 2012 and Georgia House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 236 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 56 Senate seats and 180 House seats.

There are 33 (13.98%) contested Democratic primaries and 45 (19.07%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 78 (16.53%) races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 16.53% figure of total contested primaries in Georgia is lower than the current national contested average of 19.38% for states that have had filing deadlines.

Senate

Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds the majority in the Georgia State Senate.

Republican Party District 7: State Representative Mark Hatfield will face off against Tyler Harper and Rodney Vickers for Greg Goggans (R) open seat. The winner of the Republican nomination will face off against Democratic candidate Gene Mitchell in the general election.[9]
Republican PartyDistrict 9: Incumbent Don Balfour faces two challengers, Travis Bowden and Steve Ramey in the Republican primary. The winner of the primary will advance to the general election to take on Democratic candidate Scott Drake in the general election.
Democratic PartyDistrict 15: Incumbent Ed Harbison, who first assumed office in 1992, faces a challenge in the Democratic primary from Reginald Pugh. Harbison defeated Pugh in Democratic primaries for the seat in 2006 and 2008.[10] The winner of the match up will advance to the general election to take on David Brown.
Republican PartyDistrict 18: Incumbent Cecil Staton faces challenger Spencer Price to decide the seat in the Republican primary. Price filed an ethics complaint against Staton on July 25, 2012, alleging that Staton participated in, and benefited from, a conspiracy to divert funds from the Georgia Republican Senatorial Trust to his campaign.[11]
Democratic PartyDistrict 38: Incumbent Horacena Tate, who first assumed office in 1998, faces a primary challenge from Reginald Crossley. The winner of the Democratic primary will decide the seat.
Democratic PartyDistrict 55: Incumbent Gloria Butler, who first assumed office in 1998, faces challenger Mark Williams in the Democratic primary to decide the district seat.

House

Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds the majority in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Republican PartyDistrict 1: The open seat has drawn attention in which three candidates, John Deffenbaugh, Mike Nowlin, and Alan Painter, will battle for the nomination in the Republican primary. The winner of the primary will take on Democratic candidate Thomas McMahan in the general election.
Republican PartyDistrict 4: Three Republican candidates are vying for the open seat. Bruce Broadrick, Dennis Mock, and David W. Renz will face off to determine the district seat.
Republican PartyDistrict 9: Republican candidates Clint Smith and Kevin K. Tanner will face off to determine who will represent the open seat.
Republican PartyDistrict 44: Incumbent Don Parsons, who first assumed office in 1994, faces challenger JoEllen Smith in the Republican primary to decide the seat.
Republican PartyDistrict 45: Incumbent Matt Dollar. who first assumed office in 2002, faces two challengers, Nick Johnson and Cynthia M. Rozzo, in the Republican primary to decide the district seat.
Republican PartyDistrict 97: Incumbent Brooks Coleman, Jr.. who first assumed in 1992, faces challenger Robert J. McClure in the Republican primary to decide the seat.
Republican PartyDistrict 167: A pair of Republican candidates, Jeff Chapman and John Tuten, qualified to replace Roger Lane (R), who vacated seat for a Superior Court judgeship in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.[12] Chapman previously represented the 3rd District of the Georgia State Senate from 2005-2011.[12]
Republican PartyDistrict 169: Incumbent Chuck Sims, who first assumed office in 1996, faces challenger Darwin Carter in the Republican primary to decide the district seat.
Republican PartyDistrict 180: Incumbent Jason Spencer, who first assumed office in 2010, faces Adam Jacobson in the Republican primary to decide the district seat.


Georgia State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 20 18
     Republican Party 36 38
Total 56 56


Georgia House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 63 60
     Republican Party 114 119
     Independent 1 1
     Vacancy 2 0
Total 180 180


See also

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References