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Georgia primary elections | Candidates and races guide


ATLANTA — Early voting began this week for Georgia’s 2022 primary elections. Primary Day is May 24, and these races will determine who appears on the ballot this November.

Georgia is now a pivotal swing state – maybe the most important bellwether in the country, in some respects.

As such, Peach State voters carry a lot of responsibility with them to the polls – from the U.S. Senate to the Georgia governor’s mansion, we’ll be voting on races that the rest of the nation is watching.

RELATED: Early voting begins for Georgia primaries | Everything you need to know

Here, we’ll provide a basic overview of the races Georgians are voting on and who the candidates are in those races:

  • Gov. Brian Kemp – The sitting governor is running for reelection, touting his record on the economy and championing conservative causes such as the state’s “heartbeat” abortion bill and a bill banning “divisive concepts” such as Critical Race Theory in schools.
  • Former Sen. David Perdue – The former senator is backed by former President Donald Trump as a challenger to Kemp, on the platform that Kemp has conceded too much to liberal interests as governor.
  • Kandiss Taylor – From Appling County in south Georgia, Taylor is running as a cultural conservative on themes such as “Jesus, Guns and Babies.”
  • Catherine Davis – Her campaign describes her as a “seasoned human resources professional and skilled program manager” who promotes “religious freedom, medical freedom, life, and school choice” among her priorities.
  • Tom Williams – He does not appear to have a campaign website, and little public information appears to be published on Williams otherwise.
  • Stacey Abrams – Abrams was the 2018 Georgia Democratic nominee for governor and has built a high profile in Democratic politics for her work focused on voting rights. She is running unopposed in the primary.
  • Herschel Walker – The UGA football legend is backed by former President Trump and is running as a cultural conservative who prioritizes “putting Georgia and Georgians first.” 
  • Gary Black – He is the current Georgia agriculture commissioner and has held that office for more than a decade.
  • Latham Saddler – A former Navy SEAL and official in the National Security Council during the Trump administration.
  • Kelvin King – A Cobb County businessman and Air Force veteran who also played college football, for the Air Force Academy.
  • Josh Clark – A former Georgia state representative and Christian conservative activist on abortion issues.
  • Jonathan McColumn – An Army veteran who reached the rank of brigadier general and an ordained minister.
  • Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock – The incumbent Democratic senator from Georgia and pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. preached who has emphasized healthcare in much of his efforts as a lawmaker. 
  • Tamara Johnson-Shealey – A business owner and beauty industry advocate who is prioritizing “economic, social and environmental justice.”
  • Georgia Sen. Butch Miller – The outgoing president pro tempore of the Georgia Senate running as a small business supporting conservative. 
  • Georgia Sen. Burt Jones – A state senator since 2013 and former UGA football player running as a pro-Trump conservative, who has the former president’s endorsement.
  • Mack McGregor – A former U.S. Marine who emphasizes Second Amendment advocacy.
  • Jeanne Seaver – A conservative activist, nonprofit founder and businesswoman who was an organizer for the 2016 Trump campaign in Georgia.
  • Former Rep. Kwanza Hall – Served briefly as John Lewis’ temporary successor in the U.S. House and has been a member of the Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Board of Education. 
  • Georgia Rep. Derrick Jackson – Member of the Georgia House since 2017, representing the 64th District. Also a Navy veteran and corporate/nonprofit executive.
  • Tyrone Brooks Jr. – The son of former Georgia Rep. Tyrone Brooks Sr., an entrepreneur and corporate manager as well as a former official in the City of Atlanta Office of Resilience.
  • Georgia Rep. Renitta Shannon – Member of the Georgia House since 2017, representing the 84th District. She emphasizes her credentials as a progressive activist and is endorsed by the Working Families Party and several other progressive groups.
  • Charlie Bailey – An attorney who was the Democratic nominee for attorney general in Georgia in 2018, he is endorsed by several significant state Democratic figures, including former Gov. Roy Barnes.
  • Tony Brown – A former candidate for sheriff in Henry County. Does not appear to have a campaign website.
  • Jason Hayes – A practicing physician and former state House candidate with past experience in public health.
  • Georgia Rep. Erick Allen – Member of the Georgia House since 2019, representing the 40th District. His career history is in consulting.
  • Rashid Malik – An economist and entrepreneur who immigrated to America from Bangladesh in 1979. 
  • Sec. Brad Raffensperger – Georgia’s current secretary of state, who defended the legitimacy of the 2020 election results and has backed the state’s since-passed voter law, calling it a measure that will enhance confidence in the state’s elections.
  • Rep. Jody Hice – Current U.S. congressman who was harshly critical of the 2020 election, a vocally pro-Trump lawmaker who has advanced narratives that the election was manipulated.
  • T.J. Hudson – A longtime Treutlen County probate and magistrate judge and current county elections superintendent as well as county manager.
  • David Belle Isle – The former mayor of Alpharetta who was in the runoff against Raffensperger in the 2018 Republican primary race for secretary of state.
  • Georgia Rep. Bee Nguyen – A leading state Democrat and current Georgia representative of the 89th District. She has previous work in public schools and is endorsed by a range of Georgia Democrats and liberal organizations.
  • Michael Owens – A Marine veteran, cybersecurity expert and former Cobb County Democratic Party chairman who is endorsed by former Gov. Barnes.
  • Dee Hawkins-Haigler – A former state representative and chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.
  • John Eaves – A community advocate and former Fulton County commissioner.
  • Floyd Griffin – Retired Army colonel, former Georgia state senator and former mayor of Milledgeville.

Attorney General

  • AG Chris Carr – The current attorney general of Georgia, who has largely made anti-trafficking and anti-gang efforts his focus in office.
  • John Gordon – A former Bibb County prosecutor and current private practice lawyer who says he will prioritize election integrity.
  • Georgia Sen. Jen Jordan – The current state senator for the 6th District, she is a longtime private practice lawyer who once clerked in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Georgia.
  • Christian Wise Smith – A Fulton County prosecutor who has previously ran for Fulton County District Attorney.  

Agriculture Commissioner

  • Georgia Sen. Tyler Harper – A state senator for the 7th District since 2013, he is a farmer and small businessman running unopposed in the Republican primary to succeed Gary Black. 
  • Georgia Rep. Winfred Dukes – Member of the Georgia House since 1997, representing the 154th District. He is a food industry executive and consultant.
  • Nakita Hemingway – A cut-flower farmer and entrepreneur and former Georgia House candidate.
  • Fred Swann – An entrepreneur and small business owner who was the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner in 2018.

Insurance Commissioner

  • John King – The current Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner, appointed by Gov. Kemp in 2019 after Jim Beck’s corruption conviction. His previous background is as a U.S. Army major general.
  • Ben Cowart – Does not appear to have a campaign website.
  • Patrick Witt – A former official in the Office of Personnel Management during the Trump administration and a member of Trump’s legal team in Georgia during the 2020 election, who has the endorsement of the former president. 
  • Raphael Baker – A business owner and insurance industry veteran. 
  • Janice Laws Robinson – The founder of an insurance firm and insurance industry veteran who was the Democratic nominee for insurance commissioner in 2018.
  • Georgia Rep. Matthew Wilson – A member of the Georgia House since 2019, representing the 80th District. He is an attorney and consumer rights advocate.

State School Superintendent

  • Currey Hitchens – A legal advocate who has most recently been with the Kinship Care Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.
  • Dr. Jaha Howard – A pediatric dentist who has been a member of the Cobb County Board of Education since 2019.
  • James Morrow Jr. – A teacher of 25 years and the Atlanta regional director of the Association of Professional Educators. 
  • Alisha Thomas Searcy – A former Georgia House representative and superintendent of an all-girls’ school network in metro Atlanta.

Labor Commissioner

  • Kartik Bhatt – A property manager and former animal control officer in the Cobb County Department of Public Safety who immigrated from India in 2001.
  • Mike Coan – The former deputy commissioner in the Department of Labor, who left the post to run for this office, and a former Georgia House representative.
  • Georgia Sen. Bruce Thompson – The state senator representing the 14th District since 2013. He served in the Army National Guard and is an entrepreneur.
  • Georgia Rep. William “Will” Boddie Jr. – An attorney and member of the Georgia House, representing the 62nd District since 2017, and the Democratic Party’s House Minority Whip from 2019-21.
  • Thomas Dean – Does not appear to have a campaign website.
  • Nicole Horn – A business owner and executive who is endorsed by labor groups including the SEIU. (Disclosure: Nicole once was a reporter at 11Alive’s sister station in Macon, WMAZ).
  • Georgia Sen. Lester G. Jackson III – The state senator representing the 2nd District since 2009. He is a Navy veteran and small business owner.
  • Nadia Surrency – The CEO of an HR management and consultancy firm.

Other races

Public Service Commissioner District 2

  • Republican primary candidate: Incumbent Tim Echols (unopposed)
  • Democratic primary candidates: Patty Durand, Russell Edwards

Public Service Commissioner District 3

  • Republican primary candidate: Incumbent Fitz Johnson (unopposed)
  • Democratic primary candidates: Shelia Edwards, Chandra Farley, Missy Moore
  • Justice Verda M. Colvin: Appointed to the Court in July 2021 by Gov. Kemp. She was previously on the Court of Appeals, also by appointment from Kemp, and before that a superior court judge in the Macon Judicial Circuit.
  • Veronica Brinson: She is a private practice attorney in Macon and was previously a lower court judge in Bibb County.

Justice Shawn Ellen LaGrua and Justice Carla McMillian are running for reelection unopposed.

Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes, Judge Chris McFadden and Judge Trea Pipkin are all running for reelection unopposed.





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