Voters in two Senate and seven House districts went to the polls Nov. 7 to cast their ballots in special elections for the Georgia General Assembly. After the votes were counted, five new representatives were elected outright, while voters from both Senate and two House districts will return to the polls Dec. 5 for a special election runoff to decide who will represent them when the legislative session convenes in January.
In an election that saw an 18.17 percent turnout of the more than 1.37 million registered voters in those districts, Democrats were able to gain two seats in the House and one seat in the Senate, ending the Republican supermajority in the Georgia General Assembly.
Senate District 6
A crowded field of three Democrats and five Republicans were on the ballot to replace Republican Sen. Hunter Hill. Democrats Jaha Howard and Jen Jordan will move on to the December runoff. Separated by less than 500 votes, Jordan received 24.43 percent of the 24,017 votes cast in the November special election, while Howard came in second with 22.52 percent of the votes. One thing already is certain, however; residents of the 6th Senate District will be represented by a Democrat during the 2018 legislative session.
Senate District 39
For the first time in two decades, residents of the 39th Senate District will be represented by a female. Five Democrats squared off in the special election to replace longtime Democratic Sen. Vincent Fort. On Dec. 5, voters in this district will return to the polls to choose between Linda Pritchett and Nikema Williams. Williams was the top vote-getter in the special election with 34.82 percent of the 26,446 votes cast, while Pritchett received 31.52 percent of votes.
House District 4
Republican Kasey Carpenter held off two Republicans and a Democrat to become the new Representative of the 4th House District. Carpenter, who garnered 53.95 percent of the 3,574 votes cast, will replace Republican Representative Bruce Broadrick.
House District 26
Republican Mark Morris was able to avoid a runoff against a Republican and a Democratic challenger in the race to replace Republican Rep. Geoff Duncan. Earning 59.77 percent of the 3,204 votes cast, Morris received more than double the votes of his nearest competitor.
House District 42
As the only candidate to qualify, Democrat Teri Anulewicz was declared the automatic winner to replace Democratic Rep. Stacey Evans.
House District 60
Seeking to replace Democratic Rep. Keisha Waites, three Democrats squared off in November’s special election. Voters will return to the polls in December’s runoff to choose between the top two vote-getters. Separated by only 46 votes, Kim Schofield and De’Andre Pickett received 35.85 percent and 34.95 percent, respectively, of the 5,170 votes cast in this race.
House District 89
Emerging from a four-Democrat slate, Bee Nguyen and Sachin Varghese will square off in a special election runoff to replace Democratic Rep. Stacey Abrams. Nguyen received 39.72 percent of the 10,713 votes cast, while Varghese received 33.97 percent of the votes in November’s special election.
House District 117
One of three Democrats to flip a legislative seat, Deborah Gonzalez held off Republican Houston Gaines to emerge victorious in the race for the 117th House District. Gonzalez, who received 53.15 percent of the 7,524 votes cast, will replace Republican Rep. Regina Quick when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
House District 119
As the lone Democrat in a race against three Republicans, Jonathan Wallace was able to avoid a runoff to replace Republican Rep. Chuck Williams. One of two Democrats to flip a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, Wallace received 56.71 percent of the 7,911 votes cast, which is nearly three times as many votes as his nearest competitor.
City of Atlanta
In addition to the legislative special elections, voters in the state’s capital city went to the polls in November to elect a new Mayor and 16 City Council members.
As a result of current Mayor Kasim Reed being term-limited, eleven candidates faced off in the November general election to serve as his successor. With voter turnout among the more than 315,000 registered voters hovering around 30%, current City Council members, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood will meet in the December 5 runoff to decide who will be the next Mayor of Atlanta. Each candidate has collected endorsements from their former general election adversaries and previous Atlanta mayors. One things is already certain however, the next Mayor will be just the second female to lead the City of Atlanta.
In addition to the mayoral runoff, Atlanta voters will return to the polls to vote again in four City Council races, including the race for City Council President. Six incumbents and nine new members will make up the next Atlanta City Council, while one of the runoff races pits the incumbent against a first-time candidate.