Georgians Vote in Race Centered on Immigration, Education

Georgians Vote in Race Centered on Immigration, Education

Originally published by The NY Times

The Republican contest centered largely on who loved guns the most and was toughest on immigration, while the Democratic race was a battle of two former legislative colleagues tussling over ethics accusations and their records on education.

But in Tuesday's primary, voters will get the final say in who will represent each party in the race to become Georgia's next governor.

The two Democratic candidates include former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and former state Rep. Stacey Evans, both Atlanta-area attorneys.

No matter which Stacey wins, she will be the first female Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia.

Voting in Atlanta as drizzle fell, independent consultant Jen Willsea said she hoped Abrams becomes the first black female governor in the Deep South state. Abrams, she said, "excites me more than almost any politician I've seen or met or heard about in years."

But small business owner Corbet Brown says he supported Evans, also a woman, because it was time for a change.

The Republican field of five holds former legislators, officeholders and businessmen, some with decades of political experience and others positioning themselves as outsiders challenging the establishment.

The Republican candidates include Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of Gainesville, Secretary of State Brian Kemp of Athens, former state Sen. Hunter Hill of Atlanta, state Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming and businessman Clay Tippins of Atlanta.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes — a strong possibility with the crowded GOP field — the two people with the most votes will advance to a July 24 runoff.

The candidates are vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who has held the office since 2011.

All of Georgia's statewide constitutional offices are up for grabs this election cycle, including positions vacated by Cagle and Kemp, as well as the position of insurance commissioner vacated by Ralph Hudgens, who isn't seeking re-election.

Georgia's 180 state House and 56 state Senate seats are also up for a vote.

Five of Georgia's U.S. House members face primary challengers.

Data released by Kemp's office showed a relatively strong turnout in early voting this year.

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