Incumbents in Georgia beat primary opponents down the ballot

ATLANTA (AP) - Beyond the marquee races for governor and U.S. Senate, several statewide officials overcame challengers from within their own parties in primary elections decided Tuesday in Georgia.

Georgia's incumbent attorney general and insurance commissioner both defeated fellow Republicans endorsed by Donald Trump. The former president also picked a favorite in the open race for lieutenant governor. Meanwhile, the Republican state school superintendent won a primary challenge by his predecessor.

A look at some key down-ballot races in the Georgia primaries.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Four Republicans sought their party's nomination for lieutenant governor after the office's current occupant, GOP Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, passed on seeking another term.

The Republican primary included two current state lawmakers: Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller and Sen. Burt Jones. Businesswoman Jeanne Seaver and manufacturing plant supervisor Mack McGregor were also on the Republican ballot. Jones, who was endorsed by Trump, called for a statewide investigation into the 2020 election. Trump claimed, without proof, that victory had been stolen from him through widespread voter fraud. Election officials found no evidence of fraud after multiple reviews.

In the crowded Democratic primary, former Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall was headed to a runoff. It was too early to call who his opponent would be. The Democratic field included state Reps. Erick Allen, Derrick Jackson and Renitta Shannon. Also running were 2018 Democratic attorney general nominee Charlie Bailey, physician Jason Hayes, Air Force veteran Tony Brown, businessman Rashid Malik and Tyrone Brooks Jr., son of a longtime state lawmaker.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr bested another Trump-backed candidate who challenged the Republican incumbent over the 2020 election.

Carr defended his office against fellow Republican John Gordon, who said he wants to investigate Trump's claims of election fraud and that Carr isn't doing enough to look into them. Carr noted that Republicans lost and there's no stolen election to investigate.

Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan will oppose Carr in the fall election. She won the Democratic primary after running to protect consumers and abortion rights. She defeated fellow Democrat Christian Wise Smith, a former Fulton County prosecutor who founded a nonprofit that works to end police brutality.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER

Insurance Commissioner John King overcame his first election challenge since the governor appointed him to the post in 2019. He defeated two fellow Republicans: real estate developer Ben Cowart and Patrick Witt, a legal consultant endorsed by Trump.

A former Doraville police chief and Army National Guard officer, King took the job following the indictment of his predecessor, Jim Beck, who was convicted last year of fraud.

It was too early to call the Democratic primary between three contenders. Janice Laws Robinson was seeking a second chance after running unsuccessfully for insurance commissioner as the 2018 Democratic nominee. She faced insurance salesman Raphael Baker and attorney Matthew Wilson.

SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT

Georgia's Republican state school superintendent easily won a primary challenge by a predecessor hoping to take the job back.

Incumbent Superintendent Richard Woods defeated fellow Republican John Barge in a race marked by back-and-forth allegations over who performed worst in the job.

Alisha Thomas Searcy won the Democratic primary for school superintendent eight years after she ran unsuccessfully for the office. She defeated three other Democrats seeking the nomination.

AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black wasn't seeking reelection, opting instead to run for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary that includes former football great Herschel Walker.

State Rep. Winfred Dukes left the legislature after 25 years to seek the Democratic nomination for the race to succeed Black. Also running were Fred Swann, the Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Black in 2018, and Nakita Hemingway, a cut-flower grower and real estate agent.

Republican state Sen. Tyler Harper was unopposed for the GOP nomination.

LABOR COMMISSIONER

State Sen. Bruce Thompson won a three-way primary for the Republican nomination for Georgia labor commissioner.

Incumbent Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, a Republican, wasn't seeking reelection. His last term was marked by a scramble to process record unemployment claims resulting from coronavirus shutdowns.

Thompson led the GOP primary over Mike Coan, who had served as Butler's deputy labor commissioner and won his boss's endorsement, and businessman Kartik Bhatt.

The Associated Press has not called the Democratic primary. That race included state Rep. William Boddie, entrepreneur Nicole Horn, state Sen. Lester Jackson, attorney and businesswoman Nadia Surrency and courier Thomas Dean.

CONGRESS

Eight members of Congress from Georgia overcame primary challengers Tuesday.

Democratic Reps. Sanford Bishop, David Scott, Hank Johnson and Nikema Williams all won contested primary races. Rep. Lucy McBath defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in a primary race between incumbents in metro Atlanta's 7th District.

Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andrew Clyde and Drew Ferguson all beat GOP primary rivals.

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Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia.

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