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ELECTION RESULTS: Trump ticket puts in mixed performance in down-ballot races
Jody Hice
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, speaks as former President Donald Trump looks on. (Special | Getty Images)
ATLANTA — One of Georgia's down-ballot candidates backed by former President Donald Trump was threatening to capture the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor without a runoff, while another lost his bid for secretary of state.
In the race for secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, who drew Trump's ire when he refused to cooperate with the then-president's attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, avoided a runoff by winning 52.3% of the vote. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, Trump's pick, finished second in a four-way race at 33.4%.

Raffensperger narrowly defeated Hice in Newton County. Raffensperger pulled in 46.08% of the county's 10,294 total votes, while Hice received only 44.83%.

In Walton County, however, Hice dominated. He received 60.68% of the 18,415 total votes, nearly doubling Raffensperger (34.22%).

"Though the results were not what we had hoped for, I can't even begin to express my appreciation to every Georgian who supported our campaign," Hice wrote in a social media post Wednesday. "My heart breaks for our over 2,000 incredible volunteers, numerous donors, and dedicated campaign staff. My only apology is that I could not give them the victory they deserved. I am proud of the race we ran and I still believe that renewing integrity in our elections is absolutely critical. But, as we move forward to the General Election, I can't stress enough the importance of EVERY Republican getting out to vote. I can tell you from my time in Washington, the Democrats want to destroy America. We can not concede our country to the radical left.

"To my team, our volunteers, and President Donald Trump — thank you," he added. "I owe 'Team Hice' a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay."

Hice vacated his seat — one he had held since 2014 — representing Georgia's 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House to pursue the secretary of state's office. The 10th District includes portions of Newton and Walton counties. 

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Bee Nguyen of Atlanta will be in a runoff for her party's nomination for secretary of state. She was in the lead with 44.3% of the vote, far ahead of former state Rep. Dee Dawkins Haigler's 18.7%, but not far enough to avoid a runoff.

In the race for lieutenant governor, with about 95% of the vote counted, state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, was leading Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, 50.1% to 31.1%. Jones, boosted by Trump's endorsement, would avoid a June 21 runoff if he remains above the 50%-plus-one margin needed under state law to win the GOP nomination outright.

The Democrats, however, were certainly headed for a runoff to decide their candidate for lieutenant governor. Former Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall was in the lead with 30.1% of the vote, to 17.7% for second-place Charlie Bailey.
Trump's influence didn't count for much in the Republican race for attorney general. Incumbent Chris Carr handily defeated John Gordon, who was endorsed by the former president.
Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan of Atlanta won her party's nomination to challenge Carr in November, easily besting Christian Wise Smith.
Another Trump-backed candidate to come up short was Patrick Witt, who ran a distant second to incumbent Republican Insurance Commissioner John King.
Another incumbent Republican, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, trounced former Superintendent John Barge in that GOP primary.
State Sen. Bruce Thompson, R-White, bested former state Rep. Mike Coan in the Republican primary for commissioner of labor. Incumbent Labor Commissioner Mark Butler is not seeking reelection.
Realtor and cut-flower farmer Nakita Hemingway captured the Democratic nomination for agriculture commissioner with 56.2% of the vote to 28.6% for state Rep. Winfred Dukes of Albany.
Also, former state Rep. Alisha Thomas Searcy won the Democratic nod for state school superintendent with 57% of the vote in a four-way race.
The Democratic contests for insurance commissioner and labor commissioner were headed for runoffs.
Janice Laws Robinson, who is in the insurance business was leading the insurance commissioner's race with 48.7% of the vote. Raphael Baker finished second to make the runoff with 33.1%.
In the crowded Democratic primary for labor commissioner, state Rep. William Boddie of East Point edged businesswoman Nicole Horn 27.6% to 25.1%. The two will square off again in the June 21 runoff.
While Democratic races were tight, several down-ballot Republicans won their party nominations without opposition, including state Sen. Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla, who is running for Georgia agriculture commissioner.
The two Republicans seeking reelection to the state Public Service Commission also captured GOP nominations unopposed: Tim Echols in District 2 and Fitz Johnson in District 3.
Consumer advocate Patty Durand won the Democratic nomination in PSC District 2 despite an order to remove her from the ballot that was posted at some precincts. She has been waging a court battle to stay on the ballot because of questions over whether she meets the residency requirement. An emergency court ruling Tuesday allowed her to remain on the ballot.

Small business owner Sheila Edwards won the District 3 PSC primary on the Democratic side with 54.7% of the vote in a three-way contest.

The Covington News Editor and Publisher Taylor Beck contributed to this report.