With Labor Day behind us, football is back and political campaigns are starting the sprint to Election Day.
But for the top two political contests this year in Georgia, Nov. 4 may not be the end of the campaigns.
That’s because few are ruling out that the races for Georgia’s Governor and the U.S. Senate won’t go to a runoff. And depending on the outcome, that could stretch the election season into the next calendar year.
To avoid a runoff, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal will have to pull more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day.
The same holds true for either Democrat Michelle Nunn or Republican David Perdue, who are vying for the open U.S. Senate seat that Saxby Chambliss is vacating.
Early voting numbers for the July 22 runoff are in. The majority of ballots have been received, though mail-in absentee ballots can still be cast. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in a statement Monday that 159,152 ballots have already been cast. That number includes 134,267 ballots in which people voted in person plus 24,885 mail-in ballots returned. Kemp says that number is about 13 percent of eligible voters. He predicts the Republican runoff could see double digit turnout due to higher profile races.
Seven candidates started out the race, but only two will take it to the finish line. Republican Senate hopefuls David Perdue and Jack Kingston will face off again in the July runoff when voters will choose which GOP candidate will represent them in the general election.
Tuesday may not have seemed like an election day, but voters across the state filled local offices and three vacant General Assembly seats. Northwest Georgia insurance agent and entrepreneur Bruce Thompson, former Gwinnett County prosecutor Chuck Efstration and retired Army lieutenant Brian Prince secured seats in the state legislature.
Preliminary results show Mike Dugan leading his opponent in a special Republican primary for a state senate seat in western Georgia. At stake is a state senate seat left vacant by Republican William Hamrick, of Carrollton, who stepped down to become a judge.
Georgia’s Secretary of State has come up with a plan to ensure the state is complying with federal election law regarding absentee ballots in the runoff for the primaries. But Brian Kemp doesn’t believe this will end the Justice Department’s concerns.