Geoff Duncan knew he was in for a long night.
The Forsyth County resident and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor walked in to Black Diamond Grill around 7:40 p.m. Tuesday for his campaign party. He scanned the restaurant, then checked his phone, pulling up an app with updated election results.
“Looks good,” Duncan said.
Eventually it was. Duncan survived a battle for second place in the three-man race to force a July 24 runoff.
Duncan edged Rick Jeffares, 26.66 to 24.45 percent, respectively, with 156 of 159 precincts reporting as of midnight. Duncan now takes on David Shafer, who finished with 48.90 percent.
Duncan won his home county, finishing with 47.40 percent of 23,428 votes, well ahead of Shafer (39.44 percent) and Jeffares (13.17 percent).
Whoever emerges between Duncan and Shafer will face Democratic candidate Sarah Riggs Amico, who defeated Triana Arnold James, 55.25 to 44.75 percent.
-- Brian Paglia
Gilligan earns re-election to state House seat
Incumbent Sherri Gilligan soundly defeated challenger Joanna Cloud in the Georgia House District 24 Republican primary Tuesday.
With all 16 precincts reporting, Gilligan finished with 60.7 percent of 6,659 total votes to Cloud’s 39.30 percent.
Without a Democratic challenger, Gilligan will remain in the seat she first took over in a special election in 2015.
“I want to thank my husband for his unwavering support. I want to thank everyone who got out there and voted today. I want to thank Joanna for a hard fought race, and thank everyone who gave it their all,” Gilligan said. “And looking forward to serving the district for the next two years.”
-- Brian Paglia
Woodall wins District 7 GOP primary, Dems headed to runoff
Rep. Rob Woodall defeated Forsyth County resident Shane Hazel in the Republic primary for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District.
Woodall finished with 71.93 percent of 42,259 total votes to Hazle’s 28.07 percent. Woodall carried Forsyth County, too, with 68.48 percent of the 17,767 local votes.
Woodall will now face either Carolyn Bourdeaux or David Kim, who emerged from a six-person race for the Democratic nomination for a July 24 runoff, to see if he can remain in the seat he’s held since 2011.
-- Brian Paglia
Dolezal avoids runoff with win Tuesday
Greg Dolezal avoided a runoff for the District 27 state Senator Republican nomination by earning about 59 percent of the vote, or 14,749 votes, over candidates Bill Fielder and Brian Tam, who earned about 16.3 and 24.7 percent of the vote, respectively.
Runoffs are held if no candidate reaches 50 percent of the vote plus one vote.
Dolezal, a local businessman, applauded the efforts of his campaign staff and volunteers, which he said knocked on just under 19,000 doors to get the word out about the race.
“I’m super proud of our team,” Dolezal said late Tuesday. “We have an incredible team of people all over the county that have come out in the campaign. They rallied around our message of being a conservative that we can count on, and they got behind our vision not only for Forsyth but for Georgia.”
He will face Democrat Steve Smith, who did not face a challenge in the primary, in the general election in November.
— Kelly Whitmire
Incumbent Jones wins primary
District 25 state Rep. Todd Jones earned about 74.3 percent of votes, about 5,979, in Tuesday’s primary over challenger Steven Grambergs.
“I’m humbled by the support,” Jones said. “The idea that to have such overwhelming support from my constituents sets out a clear mandate for me and makes it clear on what they expect from me and to continue to focus on the area I’ve been focusing on in my first term. And I promise to as we get into the general election and hopefully into my second term.”
Jones, a technology executive, was first elected in 2016.
He will face Democrat Anita Tucker in the Nov. 6 general election.
-- Kelly Whitmire