2 conservative Georgia districts choose GOP House nominees

ATLANTA (AP) — Republicans in two conservative north Georgia districts chose nominees to Congress on Tuesday, with voters in northwest Georgia's 14th district embracing construction executive Marjorie Taylor Greene despite warnings from establishment Republicans about her support of conspiracy theories and racist remarks. But Republicans in northeast Georgia's 9th District chose gun dealer and Navy veteran Andrew Clyde, spurning anti-establishment rebel and state Rep. Matt Gurtler. Democrats also choose nominees in the 9th District and in coastal Georgia’s 1st District. A challenger beat Fulton County’s district attorney in a Democratic runoff and two Democratic state House members were trying to keep their jobs, with a total of 17 state legislative races on the ballot.

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14TH DISTRICT REPUBLICANS

Construction executive Marjorie Taylor Greene won the Republican nomination in northwest Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Greene led a nine-way June primary and beat Rome neurosurgeon John Cowan on Tuesday. Greene’s victory came despite national criticism over her support for conspiracy theories, her racist and anti-Semitic remarks, and opposition by some high-profile Republicans. A vocal Donald Trump supporter, Greene said she ran for Congress to defend the country against socialists, protesters and those who tear down Confederate monuments.

Greene received over 40% of the ballots cast in the initial June 9 primary, while Cowan got 21%.

The district is heavily Republican, although Greene will face Democratic candidate Kevin Van Ausdal in November. The district covers all or part of 12 counties, stretching from the Tennessee line south to Haralson and Paulding counties.

9TH DISTRICT REPUBLICANS

Gun dealer and Navy veteran Andrew Clyde won the Republican nomination in northeast Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. Clyde narrowly trailed state Rep. Matt Gurtler in a nine-way primary in June, but reaped support and endorsements from many state Republicans. Clyde touted his successful advocacy of restrictions on the IRS after the agency seized $940,000 from him in 2013.

Gurtler sought to bring his quest for a small government aligned with his vision of the U.S. Constitution to Congress. But there was a split, with some Republicans backing Clyde because of Gurtler’s rebellion against the GOP state House leadership, while the GOP-friendly Club for Growth backed Gurtler and ran television ads attacking Clyde. As a state representative, some dubbed Gurtler as “Dr. No” for how often he voted against legislation.

Clyde will be a heavy favorite in November in one of the nation's most reliably Republican congressional districts. The 9th covers all or part of 20 northeast Georgia counties. The seat is open because Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is running for Senate.

9TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS

Army veteran Devin Pandy won the Democratic nomination in northeast Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. He defeated Brooke Siskin in Tuesday’s runoff after trailing her in a three-way June primary. Pandy said his military career has prepared him for Congress, and he will work with other Democrats to help the party in the region. He also pledged to help farmers and veterans, protect the environment and improve access to health care.

Siskin was arrested for disorderly conduct in March at a Gwinnett County bank and police found a loaded handgun in her car. A judge found Siskin in contempt on June 19 for violating a 2012 divorce decree requiring that she surrender weapons. WAGA-TV reported Siskin refused to surrender a second gun.

1ST DISTRICT DEMOCRATS

Former lawyer Joyce Marie Griggs won a runoff for the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 1st Congressional District, overcoming questions about her disbarment. Griggs beat 2018 Democratic nominee Lisa Ring on Tuesday, but will face an uphill climb against Republican incumbent Buddy Carter. Griggs is an Iraq combat veteran and argues that Carter isn’t doing enough to represent all the district’s residents and supports less punitive federal prison sentencing and ways to reduce police violence against Black people.

Griggs has falsely claimed in campaign appearances that the Georgia Supreme Court overruled her 2004 disbarment. The former attorney remains barred from practicing law after the high court rejected her 2011 petition to be reinstated. Griggs unsuccessfully ran against then-U.S. Rep Jack Kingston in 2000.

The district includes all or part of 17 counties from Savannah to St. Mary’s and Valdosta.

FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Challenger Fani Willis defeated her former boss in the Democratic primary runoff in the race for district attorney in Georgia’s most populous county. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard conceded the race late Tuesday.

Howard was the first African American district attorney elected in Georgia when he took office in 1997 and faced no election opponents until he drew two challengers in the June primary.

Howard ran behind Willis in a three-way June primary, with the incumbent facing allegations of harassment or discrimination from three past or present female employees. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into a salary supplement he received from the city of Atlanta that was passed through a nonprofit that Howard controlled. Howard also faced praise and criticism for the way he handled two separate cases against police officers, including one that involved the death of a Black man.

Willis worked in Howard's office for 16 years and also has been a defense attorney and judge. She raised more money and snagged key endorsements. With no Republican qualified for the general election, the runoff is likely to decide the race.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

There were 17 party runoffs and one special election runoff for House and Senate seats in the General Assembly. In the special election, Republican Billy Hickman of Statesboro beat Scott Bohlke of Brooklet for both the Republican nomination to a new term and the remainder of the current term in southeast Georgia's Senate District 4. The seat was held by Jack Hill, who died in March.

Two longtime Democratic House members were trying to keep their jobs in races that were too soon to call early Wednesday. Sharon Beasley-Teague has represented House District 65 in south Fulton and part of Douglas counties since 1993. She led her June primary but narrowly missed a majority in a three-way race and faced challenger Mandisha Thomas.

In DeKalb County's House District 86, incumbent Michelle Henson, who has been in the House since 1991, won a plurality of the vote in a four-way race in June. Second-place finisher Zulma Lopez has mounted a vigorous challenge.

Six runoffs were between Democrats, and 11 were between Republicans.