The May 22 primary election is sending some key local races into July 24 runoffs, while setting up others for the November ballot. And one major position was decided, with Robb Pitts narrowly winning the right to remain as Fulton County Commission chair.

6th Congressional District

Democrats Kevin Abel and Lucy McBath are headed to a runoff for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Karen Handel for the 6th Congressional District seat.

McBath was leading with about 36 percent of the votes and Abel following with about 30.5 percent. Finishing out of the running were Bobby Kaple and Steven Knight Griffin.

Both candidates cite personal reasons for running. McBath, a Cobb County resident, is a gun control advocate whose son, Jordan Davis, was murdered in a notorious 2012 Florida shooting. Abel, a Sandy Springs resident, is a South African immigrant who discusses the fate of the American Dream.
Handel faced no primary challenger.

The 6th Congressional District includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs as well as sections of north Fulton and Cobb counties.

Fulton County chair

Pitts will remain Fulton County Commission chair after barely fighting off a Democratic primary challenge from Keisha Waites with just over 51 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

Pitts won the countywide chair position in a special runoff election last December, where he also beat Waites with about 55 percent of the votes.
This time around, Pitts’ win was narrower. In the unofficial results, he earned 42,584 votes to Waites’ 40,812.

Pitts faces no opposition in the November general election.

Senate District 6

Incumbent state Sen. Jen Jordan will face Republican Leah Aldridge for the Senate District 6 seat in the upcoming Nov. 6 election. The state Senate seat includes most of Buckhead, parts of central and southern Sandy Springs, and southern Cobb County.

Aldridge, an attorney, received 5,900 votes, or 56.7 percent, defeating the other Republican candidate, John Gordon, according to unofficial results.
Jordan, a Cobb County attorney, was unchallenged and received 9,983 votes, according to the unofficial results.

Aldridge ran in the 2017 special election for the seat, which was vacated by Hunter Hill in his failed bid for governor. Jordan won the runoff in that election against another Democrat.

Senate District 40

Sally Harrell, a former state representative, defeated Tamara Johnson-Shealy with 67 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results in the Democratic primary for the state Senate District 40 seat. Harrell will now face incumbent state Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) in November. The district includes parts of Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Sandy Springs.

Senate District 56

Ellyn Jeager won the Democratic primary in state Senate District 56, which includes part of Sandy Springs, and will face unopposed incumbent John Albers in the November general election.

Jeager, a retiree who works on mental and physical healthcare advocacy, won 64 percent of the votes in beating fellow Democrats Jim Guess Jr. and Patrick Thompson, according to unofficial results.

House District 52

Incumbent state Rep. Deborah Silcox will move on to the November election and face a Democratic challenger in House District 52, representing parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs.

Silcox defeated her Republican challenger, Gavi Shapiro, in the May 22 primary election, according to unofficial results.

Silcox, who was first elected in 2016, will face Democratic challenger Shea Roberts in the Nov. 6 election. Roberts was unopposed in the primary. Silcox received 3,089, or 72 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results. Roberts received 3,233.

House District 80

In House District 80, which includes Brookhaven and a sliver of Sandy Springs, incumbent Meagan Hanson ran unopposed in the Republican primary and received 1,245 votes, according to unofficial results. Her Democratic challenger, Matthew Wilson, received 1,449 votes in the primary, for a difference of 204 votes.

Other races

Two local races had uncontested primaries that send nominees on to November election battles. In House District 51, Democrat Josh McLaurin and Republican Alex Kaufman will vie to replace retiring state Rep. Wendell Willard. McLaurin survived a legal challenge to his eligibility filed by a former Sandy Springs City Council member to remain on the ballot.

In state Senate District 32: Republican incumbent Kay Kirkpatrick and Democrat Christine Triebsch will compete in a rematch of a special election last year.

–John Ruch, Evelyn Andrews and Dyana Bagby

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.