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Turnout booms in Georgia primary, led by resurgent Republicans

Mark Niesse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Political News

ATLANTA — In Georgia’s first post-Trump primary election, unprecedented waves of voters have already swept into polling places — most of them Republicans.

Early voting turnout is nearly three times as high as the last midterm primary in 2018, a sign of relentless voter participation in one of the most politically competitive states in the nation.

This time, Republicans are receiving the most votes after Georgia was nearly evenly split in the presidential general election race in 2020. About 57% of voters so far have cast Republican ballots.

The primary on Tuesday will help define the direction of the Republican Party in Georgia, setting a slate of candidates for a showdown with Democratic candidates including Stacey Abrams in November. Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp faces former U.S. Sen. David Perdue in the race for governor, and a crowded GOP field including Herschel Walker is running for the U.S. Senate.

Turnout is booming, even without former President Donald Trump — who has endorsed Perdue and Walker — on the ballot. Trump is supporting a slate of 10 Georgia candidates, most of whom have repeated his debunked accusations that the presidential election was stolen, despite recounts, court cases and investigations showing otherwise.

Republican voters say they’re motivated by competitive races, anger over inflation and a desire to regain lost ground from 2020, when Democrats won the presidential race and two U.S. Senate seats.

 

“We’re voting for whoever would do the best job. Just because a candidate is a Trump person doesn’t mean they’ll do the best job,” said Kenneth Kelley, who works for an air-conditioning company, after voting in Cherokee County. “We’ve got options in our party.”

Other Republican voters expressed similar sentiments in the final days of early voting, saying they distributed their votes among a variety of Republican candidates, whether they’re endorsed by Trump or not.

“It’s a mixed bag. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I want to hear from the candidates,” said Mickey Morrison, a financial analyst and early voter in Forsyth County.

Georgia played a crucial role in Democratic victories in 2020, supporting Joe Biden for president and giving Democrats control of the U.S. Senate with the election of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

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©2022 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
 

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