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Georgia Primary Roundup - Landslides and Runoffs

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July 21, 2010

Former Dougherty County District Attorney Ken Hodges

By Joseph Kastner

ATLANTA, Georgia: On Tuesday, July 20, 2010, the voters of Georgia went to the polls to choose candidates for both the Democratic and Republican sides in the following contests: Attorney General, Governor, and Secretary of State.

The main focus of the local media in regards to the state attorney general campaign centered on the bitter contest between former Dougherty County District Attorney Ken Hodges and State Representative Rob Teilhet, both of whom sought the Democratic nomination. Although Hodges received a substantial following among local Democrats, there were those who questioned his credibility given the Phoebe Factoids case, a high-profile legal matter in which he admitted using grand jury subpoena in 2003 to trace the source of the leaked memos that showed that the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital located in Albany, Georgia, one of the poorer areas of the state, had "$2.6 billion in cash and transferred millions to offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands."[1] He later attracted further controversy when during the course of the primary campaign he was accused twice by his opponent, Rob Teilhet, of claiming endorsements for his campaign that he had not earned.

On the primary election date, the contest proved to be no where near as close as some had predicted it would be. In the end, Hodges was able to easily stave off Teilhet by a nearly 3-to-2 margin.

2010 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary[2]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Ken Hodges (D) 65.5%
Rob Teilhet (D) 34.5%
Total votes 337,460

On the Republican side, three candidates vied for their party's state attorney general nomination - Cobb County Commission Chairman Samuel S. Olens, State Senator Preston Smith, and Max Wood, former United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Despite Wood being designated as the true conservative choice, he could not compete with Olens who was endorsed early on in the race by former Governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary[2]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Samuel S. Olens (R) 39.9%[3]
Preston Smith (R) 30.6%
Max Wood (R) 29.5%
Total votes 575,773

Since neither Olens nor Smith received over fifty percent of the vote, both candidates will move on to the primary runoff election to be held on August 10.

The Republican primary contest for Secretary of State drew the most attention as incumbent Brian Kemp and challenger Doug MacGinnite, City Commissioner for Sandy Springs, were routinely at each other's throats throughout the campaign. Kemp was appointed to the statewide position by Republican Governor Sonny Perdue in January 2010 to fill the vacancy left behind by Karen Handel following her resignation to work full time on her gubernatorial campaign.[4][5] Both candidates attacked one another's voting record - MacGinnite accusing Kemp of breaking with the Republican Party for having voted twice in Democratic primary runoff contests while Kemp slammed his opponent for having not voted in a Republican primary for almost 20 years until 2008. The incumbent Secretary of State went so far as to even accuse MacGinnite's camp of using pictures taken of supporters and their children at a Kemp fundraiser to intimidate them.

Again, the contest proved to be no where near as close as had been argued. Kemp easily defeated MacGinnite by a 3-to-2 margin of victory.

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary[2]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Brian Kemp (R) 59.2%
Doug MacGinnitie (R) 40.8%
Total votes 609,478
Georgia

Despite featuring five candidates, the Democratic side of the Secretary of State contest failed to attract the attention of either of the public or the local media as none of them distinguished themselves from their opponents. For two of the candidates, Gail Buckner and Angela Moore, this was their second attempt in a row for the statewide position - Moore lost in the Democratic primary and Buckner placed second in the general election contest. Lack of interest by voters in the campaign showed as the turn-out was nearly half what it was on the Republican side.

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary[2]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Gail Buckner (D) 35.1%[6]
Georganna Sinkfield (D) 22.6%
Angela Moore (D) 20.4%
Michael Mills (D) 15.5%
Gary Horlacher (D) 6.4%
Total votes 341,395

Since neither Buckner nor Sinkfield received over fifty percent of the vote, both candidates will move on to the primary runoff election to be held on August 10.

In the state's gubernatorial contests, the Republican primary produced twice the turnout of the Democratic race. This may be likely due to the fact that the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial campaign was never in doubt, despite featuring as many as seven challengers for the nomination. The former Governor has remained extremely popular with state liberal voters. His nearest challenger, three-term State Attorney General Thurbert Baker, never once came close to matching the following Barnes had accumulated, despite his best efforts.

2010 Race for Governor - Democratic Primary[2]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Roy E. Barnes (D) 65.8%
Thurbert Baker (D) 21.7%
David Poythress (D) 5.5%
DuBose Porter (D) 4.2%
Carl Camon (D) 1.1%
Bill Bolton (D) 0.9%
Randal Mangham (D) 0.8%
Total votes 392,472

Tensions ran high throughout the course of the Republican primary campaign, particularly in the last two weeks after former Governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin endorsed former Secretary of State Karen Handel. This expression of support from a popular conservative national figure, along with her rising public opinion poll figures, helped Handel gain the upper hand in the race, despite being outspent by both the former United States Congressman, Nathan Deal, and John Oxendine, the one time front runner in the campaign. Still, the former Secretary of State was not able garner enough votes to afford facing a runoff election against Deal in three weeks.

2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[2]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpgKaren Handel (R) 34.1%[7]
Nathan Deal (R) 22.9%
Eric Johnson (R) 20.1%
John W. Oxendine (R) 16.9%
Jeff Chapman (R) 3.0%
Ray McBerry (R) 2.5%
Otis Putnam (R) 0.4%
Total votes 678,880

See also

Ballotpedia News

References

  1. Socialist Worker "The for-profit non-profits" 17 June, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Primary Election Results
  3. Even though Sam Olens received the most votes, he failed to receive over fifty percent of those votes required by Georgia state law. A runoff election between the top two vote recipients, therefore, was required to decide who went on to the general election.
  4. Athens Banner-Herald "Brian Kemp appointed Georgia secretary of state" 4 Jan. 2010
  5. Red State "Karen Handel Aims to Win the GOP Gubernatorial Nomination in Georgia" 22 Dec. 2009
  6. Even though Gail Buckner received the most votes, she failed to receive over fifty percent of those votes required by Georgia state law. A runoff election between the top two vote recipients, therefore, was required to decide who went on to the general election.
  7. Even though Karen Handel received the most votes, she failed to receive over fifty percent of those votes required by Georgia state law. A runoff election between the top two vote recipients, therefore, was required to decide who went on to the general election.