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The Latest: A runoff for Georgia's GOP governor primary

By The Associated Press  |  Posted May 22nd, 2018 @ 8:24pm


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ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the gubernatorial primary in Georgia (all times local):

10:20 p.m.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will face a July 24 runoff for the GOP nomination for Georgia governor.

Cagle and Kemp beat three GOP rivals in a race characterized by strong support for gun rights and tough talk on immigration.

But no candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote as required to win the nomination outright.

Cagle garnered national headlines in February when he threatened to kill a tax break benefiting Delta Air Lines for ending a discount program for the National Rifle Association.

Kemp made waves with a series of campaign ads including one where he says he has a "big truck" in case he needs to round up "criminal illegals" himself.

The runoff winner will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November.

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9:30 p.m.

Stacey Abrams has won the Democratic primary in Georgia's gubernatorial race.

She is the state's first woman nominee for governor from either major party, and if she wins the general election in November, she'll become the first black female governor in the U.S.

Former state House Minority Leader Abrams beat former state Rep. Stacey Evans in Tuesday's race. Both are Atlanta-area attorneys. The race was characterized by a battle over the candidates' legislative records on education.

Abrams is a celebrated romance novelist who made economic mobility and affordable health care cornerstones of her campaign.

Abrams has garnered major party endorsements including Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. John Lewis and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Abrams would succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who has held the office since 2011.

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8:40 p.m.

Political candidates and their teams of advisers, spokespeople and assistants work hard to control their own message, right down to the music played at campaign events.

And in the race for Georgia's next governor, the differences in the leading candidates' musical affinities were striking.

On the Democratic side, former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams's election night party in downtown Atlanta featured tracks by Rihanna, Cardi B and John Legend.

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's watch party in his hometown of Gainesville included a live performance by new-age country singer Tyler Hammond, known for his songs "Little Bit Crazy" and "Drunk Over a Girl."

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6:30 p.m.

Polls are set to close across Georgia at 7 p.m. in Tuesday's primaries.

The results will set the stage for a contentious battle in November's general election, as Democrats try to chip away at Republican domination in the state.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office says voting has gone "smoothly," but they have opened four investigations, including one involving a delayed opening in Chatham County and another involving a poll worker in Seminole county. Kemp's office was not immediately able to provide more details.

All eyes are on the governor's race, the biggest prize of Georgia's statewide constitutional offices up for grabs.

Five Republicans and two Democrats are vying to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who has held the office since 2011.

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5:40 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is urging Democrats in Georgia to make sure to vote in support of Stacey Abrams for governor.

Clinton recorded a 60-second endorsement used by the Abrams campaign in direct phone calls to Georgia voters. Tuesday's primary ballot election has Abrams facing fellow Atlanta Democrat Stacey Evans.

Clinton notes Abrams was the first black woman to serve as House Democratic leader in the Georgia legislature. Clinton also says Abrams has "a proven track record" of supporting public schools, gun safety, voting rights and Medicaid expansion.

A victory in the Democratic primary and in the November election would make Abrams the first black woman governor in the U.S.

Clinton's message also acknowledges the potential confusion caused by two Democratic rivals with the same first name. Twice, Clinton urges voters to support "Abrams with an 'A.'"

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9:20 a.m.

Voting has started in Georgia's gubernatorial primary.

Five Republicans and two Democrats are vying to replace Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who has held the office since 2011 and can't run again because of term limits.

Voting in Atlanta early Tuesday, independent consultant Jen Willsea said she's exciting about the possibility of Democratic House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams becoming the first black female governor in the Deep South state.

But small business owner Corbet Brown says he's voting for Democrat Stacey Evans, also a woman, because it's time for a change.

No matter whether Abrams or Evans wins, Georgia will get its first female Democratic nominee for governor.

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7:25 a.m.

The Republican contest centered largely on who loved guns the most and was toughest on immigration, while the Democratic race was a battle of two former legislative colleagues tussling over ethics accusations and their records on education.

But in Tuesday's primary, voters will get the final say in who will represent each party in the race to become Georgia's next governor.

The two Democratic candidates include former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and former state Rep. Stacey Evans, both Atlanta-area attorneys.

No matter which Stacey wins, she will be the first female Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia.

The Republican field of five holds former legislators, officeholders and businessmen, some with decades of political experience and others positioning themselves as outsiders challenging the establishment.

The Republican candidates include Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of Gainesville, Secretary of State Brian Kemp of Athens, former state Sen. Hunter Hill of Atlanta, state Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming and businessman Clay Tippins of Atlanta.

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