Georgia held its primary runoff elections on the first day of summer. The South is already in the midst of an oppressive heatwave, but, as they always say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
In the spirit of that well-worn cliché, here are some humid takes on Tuesday night’s runoffs. Besides, it’s hot enough down here without adding hot takes.
May’s primaries didn’t leave too many Georgians with runoffs, but in a few districts, Republican candidates squared off. Here’s the lay of the land in those districts and how the runoffs played out.
2nd Congressional District
This is the race I know the least about because it’s in the southwestern part of the state. It was also the tightest race among the Republican runoffs. Attorney Chris West and former U.S. Army captain Jeremy Hunt faced off in this runoff, with West eking out a win with 51.33% of the vote.
The trouble in this race is that the winner will face Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Democrat who has served the district for almost 30 years. The 2nd district has been solidly blue for generations, electing only Democrats to Congress since 1875. It may take a miracle for West to defeat Bishop in November, but most of the predictions only show this district as “leans Democrat” or “likely Democrat,” while RealClearPolitics calls it a tossup district.
6th Congressional District
The 6th district brought us solid Republican representatives like Newt Gingrich, Karen Handel, and the late Johnny Isakson. However, this suburban Atlanta district has trended blue in recent years. Georgia’s General Assembly redrew the district to make it more friendly to the GOP. The 6th district has also become an open seat, as incumbent Rep. Lucy McBath has moved over to the bluer 7th district.
The runoff featured Rich McCormick, a solidly conservative Marine and physician with a fascinating story (he’s an alumnus of HBCU Morehouse College, even though he’s white) who lost the race in the 7th district in 2020, going up against Jake Evans, the former chairman of the Georgia Ethics Commission.
Evans boasted of his Trump endorsement and sent constant emails to people outside his district (I can vouch for this fact), but he made the runoff unnecessarily nasty, lobbing ridiculous claims that McCormick is a “RINO.” The voters in the district have seen otherwise, and McCormick handily won just over two-thirds of the vote. He’ll face Democratic nominee Bob Christian in a race where all the indicators predict that the seat will easily flip from blue to red.
7th Congressional District
As I noted earlier, Rep. Lucy McBath moved from the freshly redrawn 6th district next door to the 7th district, which was one of a handful of districts the state’s Republican leaders left blue as a bone to throw to Democrats. McBath has built her entire political career on the fact that her son died of a gunshot wound, and gun control has been one of her pet issues.
The GOP race featured a group of relative newcomers to politics, including some guy named YG Nyghtstorm (yes, his name really does sound like an ’80s funk band) who came in last place. In the runoff, telecommunications director Michael Corbin faced off against businessman Mark Gonsalves, who won with a shade over two-thirds of the vote.
All the indicators have this district as a solidly blue seat, so unless something wild happens, McBath should have an easy general election.
10th Congressional District
Full disclosure: the 10th district is where I live, so I know more about what goes on here than anywhere else. Rep. Jody Hice abandoned the seat in his quixotic bid to become Georgia’s Secretary of State, leaving the door wide open to a large field of candidates.
In the first round of the primary, it seemed like there were 1,400 people running, but really there were only eight candidates. In the end, it came down to Mike Collins, a trucking company owner who’s the son of former Rep. Mac Collins, and Vernon Jones, former state representative and CEO of koo-koo crazy DeKalb County, who was a Democrat until just two years ago.
Here’s my Vernon Jones rant. There’s a Bible verse that says that churches shouldn’t let a recent convert become a leader, and I believe the same principle should apply to politics. Jones has been a Republican for less than two years, and he only changed parties because he desperately wanted a Trump endorsement. He ran for governor, and when Trump refused to endorse him there, he dropped out and ran in the 10th district.
Jones spent eight years leading one of Georgia’s most radically left-wing counties and represented it in the General Assembly after that, during which time he took far-left positions on issues like abortion and racial quotas. I don’t know what Jones did to pull the wool over the eyes of Trump and his people, but somehow he managed to fool them into thinking he’s a conservative.
Thank God the people of my home district saw through Jones and his carpetbagging ways and instead chose Collins. I met Collins in person on Monday, and he impressed me quite a bit. I’m looking forward to having him represent me on Capitol Hill.
The 10th district was the only district where there were runoffs for both parties. I honestly hadn’t heard of any of the Democrats but two: somebody named Jessica Fore, and that’s only because I saw one of her Facebook ads, and Tabitha Johnson-Green. Johnson-Green won her runoff, and she’ll be the Democrats’ sacrificial lamb for the third consecutive election in a November race where all the indicators show a “safe” or “solid” GOP win.
The 1st district in the southeastern part of the state featured a Democratic runoff between attorney Wade Herring and businesswoman Joyce Griggs, who carried the endorsement of Democrats for Life. Herring eked out a win and will face off against incumbent Republican Rep. Buddy Carter in a district that’s solidly red.
There were also some Democrat runoffs in statewide races, and zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Sorry, I lost interest in the races the Dems will lose.
Analysis (or the really humid takes)
You’re going to hear people offer takes on Georgia’s runoffs and say that they were a referendum on Trump or a validation of this factor or that issue, but it’s all hogwash.
At the end of the day — pretty much literally — Georgia voters chose the people they think will do the best job representing their districts. You’ve heard that old saw that “all politics is local,” and in the case of the 2022 midterm election runoffs, that’s nearly 100% true.
Bring on November! I predict that Georgia’s Republican candidates are in for some tough fights, but most of them will emerge victorious.