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Polls close in Newton County
Georgia voters pick nominees for governor, other top offices
Georgia Voter

COVINGTON, Ga. — Polls have closed in Newton County and across Georgia.

Voters on Tuesday decided the Democratic and Republican nominees in statewide races for governor and other statewide races and all seats in the legislature.

Newton County voters faced the question of whether to renew a 1 cent-per-dollar sales tax for capital improvements in the schools, and Democratic voters in one district chose their next county commissioner.

The Newton County Board of Elections said 3,089 people cast ballots during the three-week early voting period, or submitted absentee ballots.


Gov. Nathan Deal cannot seek a third term. A spirited battle among his fellow Republicans broke out with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle seeking to avoid a runoff against a field consisting of Eddie Hayes, state Sen. Hunter Hill, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, business executive Clay Tippins and former state Sen. Michael Williams.

A runoff would be July 24.

The Democrats will decide their nominee Tuesday, as there are only two candidates. Former state Reps. Stacey Abrams of Atlanta and Stacey Evans of Smyrna faced off in the Democratic primary. Either would make attempt to make history as the first female governor of Georgia.

The general election will be Nov. 6.

Lieutenant governor

Former state Sen. Rick Jeffares, a McDonough businessman, served Newton County in the General Assembly from 2011-17. He is in a three-man fight for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor against former state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Cumming and Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer of Duluth.

Sarah Riggs Amico and Triana Arnold James met for the Democratic nomination.

State offices

Other state offices on the ballot included secretary of state, another open seat due to Kemp’s decision to run for governor after two terms as the state’s top elections official. Seeking to succeed him are former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, Rakeim “RJ” Hadley and Dee Dawkins-Haigler on the Democratic side and former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle, state Rep. Buzz Brockway, state Sen. Josh McKoon and state Rep. Brad Raffensperger in the GOP primary.

Attorney general: Republican incumbent Chris Carr and Democratic challenger Charlie Bailey were unopposed and will face off in the Nov. 6 general election.

Commissioner of agriculture: Republican incumbent Gary Black and Democratic challenger Fred Swann were unopposed and will face off in the Nov. 6 general election.

Commissioner of insurance and safety fire: Incumbent Ralph T. Hudgens, a Republican, declined to seek re-election. Both parties had primaries Tuesday.

On the Democratic side, Janice Laws and Cindy Zeldin opposed each other. The Republicans had a three-way race among Jim Beck, Jay Florence and Tracy Jordan.

State school superintendent: Each side had a three-way primary. The Democrats chose among Sid Chapman, Sam Mosteller and Otha E. Thornton Jr. Republicans selected among former Superintendent John Barge, Sonia Francis-Rolle and incumbent Richard Woods.

Public Service Commission: Two seats on the PSC were up for election. Neither district includes Newton County, but all PSC seats were chosen statewide.

In District 3 (metro Atlanta), Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton was unopposed. Lindy Miller, John Noel and Johnny C. White ran in the Democratic primary.

In District 5 (west Georgia), Republican incumbent Tricia Pridemore drew a challenge from John Hitchins III in the GOP primary. The Democratic primary featured Dawn A. Randolph against Doug Stoner.


District 4: Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. of Lithonia faced Juan Parks in the Democratic primary. Johnson is seeking a seventh term in Congress.

Joe Profit and Melanie Williams met in the Republican primary.

District 10: Rep. Jody Hice of Greensboro drew two challengers in the Republican primary. The former Walton County pastor is seeking a third term. Bradley Griffin, of Newborn, and Joe Hunt, of Watkinsville, opposed him.

The Democratic primary featured Tabitha A. Johnson-Green, Chalis Montgomery and Richard Dien Winfield.

General Assembly

Senate District 17: Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, is seeking his first full term after winning a special election earlier this year for the seat Jeffares vacated to run for lieutenant governor. Strickland faces a challenge from health care professional Nelva Lee in Tuesday’s GOP primary. The winner faces Democrat Phyllis D. Hatcher in November.

Senate District 43: The Democratic primary will decide the District 43 race. Incumbent Tonya P. Anderson of Lithonia drew a challenge from DeKalb County School District auditor Joel Thibodeaux.

House District 109: Both parties had primaries in the 109th District.

Incumbent Rep. Dale Rutledge of McDonough faced J. Blake Prince in the Republican primary. Denise Gaines-Edmond and Regina Lewis-Ward met in the Democratic primary.

House District 110: Rep. Andrew J. “Andy” Welch, R-McDonough, was unopposed and will serve a new two-year term.

House District 112: Rep. Dave Belton, R-Buckhead, was unopposed and will serve a new two-year term.

House District 113: The Democratic primary decided the 113th District race. Incumbent Pam Dickerson of Conyers faced a challenge from Sharon Henderson.

Newton County Board of Commissioners

District 2: Four Democrats are vying to succeed Lanier Sims, who is not running for a third term.

Project manager Demond Mason, information technology professional Steven Rhodes, pesticide contractor Antonio Ross and salesman Earnest L. Simmons are in the Democratic primary. The winner will be seated on the Board of Commissioners in January. No Republican candidates qualified.

District 4: Both parties had candidates qualify without opposition. Democratic incumbent J.C. Henderson and Republican challenger Spencer Arnhart will meet in the Nov. 6 general election.

Newton County Board of Education

District 1: Republican incumbent Trey Bailey of Covington won his first full term on the school board. He is unopposed.

District 3: Democratic incumbent Shakila Henderson-Baker of Oxford is unopposed for re-election in the 3rd District.

District 5: Vice Chairwoman Abigail M. Coggin of Social Circle was not opposed. The Republican will serve another term in the 5th District.

Education SPLOST

Voters in Newton County decided the fate of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The 1 cent-per-dollar sales tax already exists. Continuation of it would fund the construction of a new Eastside High School. The current Eastside campus then would be renovated to make room for the Newton County Theme School.

Sharp Stadium would get a renovation and the Newton County School System would have funding to improve campus security and technology offerings.

Judicial races

Supreme Court Justices Harold D. Melton, Michael P. Boggs, Nels Peterson and Britt Cagle Grant were unopposed for re-election. Judge John Ellington was unopposed for a seat now held by Justice Carol Hunstein.

Ken Hodges and Ken Shigley faced off for Ellington’s seat on the state Court of Appeals. It was the only contested race on the Court of Appeals.

Judges M. Yvette Miller, Stephen Dillard, Brian Rickman, Amanda H. Mercier, Charlie Bethel and Clyde L. Reese III were unopposed for new terms on the appeals court.