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Election 2018: Raffensperger takes GOP spot in secretary of state race

Brad Raffensperger has won a Republican runoff in the race to replace Georgia's top elections official.

Raffensperger of Johns Creek defeated former Alpharetta mayor David Belle Isle on Tuesday to become the GOP nominee for secretary of state. The office is currently held by Republican Brian Kemp, who passed on seeking re-election to run for governor.

Raffensperger is a lawmaker in the state House and a businessman. He will face Democrat John Barrow of Athens in the fall campaign. Barrow is a former Georgia congressman who lost his seat in 2014.

Both GOP runoff candidates emphasized upgrading Georgia's electronic voting machines for improved security as their top priority.

The secretary of state oversees elections as well as corporate filings and professional licensing.

Thornton wins Democratic runoff for school chief

A former leader of the National PTA has won the Democratic nomination to challenge Georgia's Republican school superintendent in the fall.

Otha Thornton Jr. of Richmond Hill defeated Sid Chapman of Griffin in the Democrat runoff for state schools chief. The retired Army lieutenant colonel will take on GOP School Superintendent Richard Woods in the November general election.

In 2013, Thornton became the first black man named president of the National PTA. He was endorsed by Arne Duncan, who served as education secretary under President Barack Obama.

Thornton defeated an experienced and well-connected educator. Chapman is a former classroom teacher as well as a past president of the Georgia Association of Educators. He was endorsed former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes.