Statewide Races: A look at the candidates you’ll see on Tuesday’s ballot

Published 7:01 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

On Tuesday, voters around the state of Georgia will go to the polls and a lot will be on the line.

Locally, the chairman of the Troup County Commission and a spot on the Troup County Board of Education are among the contested races, along with several seats in the Georgia Senate and the House of Representatives.

There’s also a lot going on statewide, including electing a new governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state. Here’s a quick rundown of each of the statewide races:


Incumbent governor Nathan Deal is term-limited, leaving a jampacked field of candidates to replace him. Five of the seven candidates are running as Republicans and the perceived frontrunner in that race is current Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who made a couple of stops in LaGrange during his campaign.

Given the number of candidates, it seems likely no candidate will reach the 50 percent needed to avoid a July runoff. Cagle is expected to be challenged by current Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former Sen. Hunter Hill, former Navy SEAL Clay Tippins and Sen. Michael Williams. Hill represented district 6 on the Georgia State Senate, which includes Cobb and Fulton counties. Williams represents district 27 in the state senate, which covers the majority of Forsyth County. Restaurant owner Eddie Hayes and former educator Marc Alan Urbach dropped out of the race.

On the Democratic side, there are only two candidates, and a Stacey is guaranteed to win. Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House, and Rep. Stacey Evans, are battling it out for the right to move on to November’s general election. Evans represents district 42 in the House, which represents Cobb County. Abrams also previously represented district 89 in the Georgia House, which includes Dekalb County.


Five candidates are looking to take over Cagle’s relinquished lieutenant governor seat.

The race includes three Republicans — Sen. David Shafer, former Sen. Rick Jeffares and former Rep. Geoff Duncan.

Shafer currently represents Senate district 48, which covers an area north of Atlanta, including Fulton County and Gwinnett County.

Jeffares represented Senate District 17 from 2010 to 2017. District 17 covers Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties. Duncan represented district 26 in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017. District 26 includes Forsyth County.

The Democratic candidates are businesswomen Sarah Riggs Amico and Triana Arnold James. Amico is executive chairman at Jack Cooper Holdings Corp., a trucking and logistics firm. James served in the U.S. Army and was Mrs. Georgia from 2015 to 2017.


Here’s another race where the incumbent, Kemp, has decided to seek higher office. Eight candidates are running for Secretary of State, with four Republicans and four Democrats seeking office.

The Republican candidates are Brad Raffensperger, Buzz Brockway, David Belle Isle and Josh McKoon. Raffensperger represents district 50 in the House of Representatives, which covers Fulton County.  Brockway represents the 102nd district in the Georgia House and has served in that role since 2013. He also represented the 101st district from 2011-2013. Both district 101 and 102 cover Gwinnett County.

Belle Isle served as Alpharetta mayor from 2012 until earlier this year, when he qualified as a candidate for secretary of state. McKoon currently represents Senate district 29, which includes Harris, Meriwether, Muscogee and Troup counties.

The Democratic candidates are Dee Dawkins-Haigler, RJ Hadley and John Barrow. Dawkins-Haigler represented Georgia’s 91st district from 2009 to 2017. District 91 includes Dekalb and Rockdale counties.

Hadley is the current tax commissioner of Rockdale County. Barrow was the U.S. representative for Georgia’s 12th Congressional district from 2005 to 2015.

The 12th Congressional district includes Appling, Bulloch, Burke, Candler, Coffee, Columbia, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Laurens, McDuffie, Montgomery, Richmond, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen and Wheeler counties.


There’s only two candidates for attorney general, with Republican incumbent Chris Carr running unopposed in the primary. Carr was appointed to his current spot in November 2016 by Deal when former Attorney General Sam Olens left to become president of Kennesaw State University. His opponent, Charlie Bailey, is the only candidate in the Democratic party. Bailey is an anti-gang prosecutor.



Incumbent Gary Black, a Republican, has no challengers in the primary. Black has held the position since 2011. He’ll be challenged by Fred Swann, the only Democratic candidate, in November.


There are five candidates to replace Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who announced last year that he would not seek a third term.

The three Republican candidates are attorney Jay Florence, who served as Georgia’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner in 2017; former Hudgens’ Chief of Staff Jim Beck, who also once served as Deputy Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner for Georgia; and pharmacist, realtor and Hoschton City Council Member Tracy Jordan. The Democratic candidates are healthcare advocate Cindy Zeldin and insurance agent Janice Laws.



Incumbent Richard Woods is seeking a second term in office, but he will be challenged in the Republican primary by John Barge, Superintendent of McIntosh County Schools. The Democratic candidates are retired U.S. Army veteran Otha E. Thornton Jr., minister and military veteran Sam Mosteller and Sid Chapman, President of the Georgia Association of Education.


Incumbent Mark Butler, who has served as Georgia’s Commissioner of Labor since 2011, will be unopposed in the Republican primary. Fred Quinn, who recently worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and former Georgia State professor Richard Keatley are up for the Democratic nomination.


Although Public Service Commissioners serve a certain district, they represent the entire state and will be on the statewide ballot. Incumbent Chuck Eaton, who has served on the commission since 2006, has no Republican challengers. Three Democrats will battle it out to get to the general election — small business owner John Noel, IT consultant Johnny C. White and businesswoman Lindy Miller.



Incumbent Tricia Pridemore, who was appointed to the commission by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2018, will be challenged by former Georgia Representative and former Senator, Doug Stoner, in the Republican primary. In the Democratic race, consultant Dawn A. Randolph will take on solar advocate John Hitchins III.



There will also be several statewide races for the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Court of Appeals of Georgia on the ballot. All of these races are non-partisan, and almost all of them are unopposed.

Justices Michael Boggs, Britt Cagle Grant, Harold Melton and Nels Peterson are all incumbents running unopposed for Supreme Court of Georgia. John Ellington, who currently serves on the Court of Appeals, will run unopposed to replace Carol Hunstein, who is retiring.

In the Court of Appeals of Georgia, incumbent justices Charlie Bethel, Stephen Dillard, Amanda Mercier, M. Yvette Miller, Brian Rickman and Clyde Reese III will all run unopposed. Ken Hodges, the former district attorney for Dougherty County, and former State Bar President Ken Shigley will battle it out to fill Ellington’s open seat.


To see what the ballot will look like, visit Note that you’ll only be able to vote in either the Democratic or Republican races during the primary. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.