Rep. Hank Johnson of Lithonia faced a one-on-one Democratic primary battle in metro Atlanta against a well-funded opponent, Tom Brown. After 13 years as DeKalb County sheriff, Brown gave up his badge this year to challenge the four-term congressman. No Republicans were seeking the 4th District seat, so the primary alone will decide who goes to Washington. While Congress met Tuesday, Johnson stayed in Georgia to rally supporters.
Other key primary races in U.S. House districts across Georgia were less likely to be settled Tuesday. Crowded congressional ballots meant several races could result in no single candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. Those races would require two more months of campaigning before the top two vote-getters meet in a runoff July 22.
In eastern Georgia's 12th District, Republican voters had to choose between five GOP candidates running to challenge Democratic Rep. John Barrow in the fall. Augusta construction company owner Rick W. Allen and former Washington aide John Stone of Augusta have both run unsuccessful campaigns in the district before. Also on the GOP ballot were state Rep. Delvis Dutton of Glennville, former Senate candidate Eugene Yu of Evans and Dianne Vann of Macon.
GOP primaries were also jammed with candidates in three open House seats vacated by Republican congressmen who opted to run for the U.S. Senate.
Six Republicans hoped to succeed Rep. Jack Kingston in southeast Georgia's 1st District. They included state Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler, former Newt Gingrich aide John McCallum of St. Simons Island and physician Bob Johnson of Savannah. Also running were state Rep. Jeff Chapman of Brunswick, Darwin Carter of Alma and Earl Martin of Blackshear. Democrats had three candidates seeking the seat, which leans Republican.
The 10th District in east Georgia drew seven Republicans looking to replace Rep. Paul Broun of Athens. Pastor and radio host Jody Hice of Monroe is running along with trucking company owner Mike Collins, son of former U.S. Rep. Mac Collins, and former state legislator Donna Sheldon of Dacula. Also competing are Stephen Simpson of Milledgeville, Brian Slowinski of White Plains and Athens residents Garry Gerrard and Mitchell Swan.
GOP voters in metro Atlanta's 11th District must fill the vacancy left by Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta. His potential Republican successors include former Georgia congressman Bob Barr of Smyrna and two state lawmakers — Rep. Ed Lindsey of Atlanta and Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville. Also in the six-way primary: Tricia Pridemore of Marietta, Allan Levene of Kennesaw Larry Mrozinski of Woodstock.
Three of Georgia's incumbent congressmen — Republican Reps. Doug Collins of Gainesville and Tom Graves of Ranger as well as Democratic Rep. David Scott — all faced primary opponents who had little money to compete.
The rest of the state's 14 congressmen ran unopposed in the primaries.
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