Early voting has already begun for Republicans and Democrats seeking to participate in the July 22 primary runoff election. Statewide, on the GOP ballot, are runoffs for the U.S. Senate and state school superintendent nominations. There are also GOP runoffs in three U.S. congressional districts around the state. If one is taking a Democrat ballot, the only statewide race is for state school superintendent. Since the hottest and most-high profile runoffs are on the Republican side, let’s analyze the highly-publicized U.S. Senate campaign as well as often overlooked but significant runoffs for state legislative seats.
Kingston vs. Perdue
As in all the runoffs, turnout will determine who to captures the GOP senatorial nomination and faces Democrat Michelle Nunn for the November general election. Retiring Congressman Jack Kingston, who represents a coastal district, did extremely well in the May 20 primary in his south Georgia stronghold. He must bring out those voters again, and his effort will be assisted by voter interest generated in the runoff in his congressional district between state Sen. Buddy Carter and Army veteran Dr. Bob Johnson.
Kingston opponent David Perdue came in first on May 20 by doing well in metro Atlanta, especially in Buckhead and Sandy Springs precincts. The “outsider” businessman also led the congressman in most of north Georgia. Perdue has to ensure his northern votes hold and expand. The good news for Kingston, though, is that most of the failed candidates have endorsed him and are urging their significant metro Atlanta and north Georgia following to cast ballots for him.
Some interesting history to consider: The last time there was a GOP Senate runoff was in 1996 between businessman Guy Millner and (now U.S. senator) Johnny Isakson. Millner won that campaign 53 to 47 percent. In 1996 the voter turnout was about 447,000; the runoff total was approximately 321,000.
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