Georgia remains a toss-up in the presidential race as county election officials work to tabulate the state’s remaining absentee and mail-in ballots Thursday afternoon.
Across Coastal Georgia, meanwhile, voters have caught the nation’s eye with one decisive race. Voters in Glynn and Camden counties removed the district attorney in Brunswick, Jackie Johnson, most closely associated with the decision not to prosecute Ahmaud Arbery’s killers.
In Chatham County, however, several important local races remain undecided, as the county finishes tabulating the last absentee and mail-in ballots, including those cast by military servicemen and women serving abroad.
Here’s a rundown of what we know about results from Savannah to Brunswick as of Thursday afternoon.
U.S. Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter safely kept his seat against Joyce Marie Griggs, his Democrat challenger. Griggs won the vote in heavily populated Chatham County and in Liberty County, but the margin could not offset the rest of the winding House District 1.
Chatham County District Attorney’s race and the County Commissioner’s race looked settled, after a raft of absentee ballots were posted to the Secretary of State’s database, but none of the candidates have declared victory.
Democrat challenger Shalena Cook Jones has maintained a lead over incumbent Meg Heap for Eastern District District Attorney, which serves Chatham County. The campaign, marked by racial and antisemitic overtones, was tightly contested over the last few weeks. Incumbent Heap was running for her third term. Cook Jones, a newcomer to politics, was a former assistant prosecutor and has been in private practice.
Democrat Chester A. Ellis has pulled ahead of Republican Jason Buelterman for Chatham County Commission Chair. Results as of Thursday afternoon showed Ellis ahead of the former Tybee mayor by more than 3 percentage points. The winner will succeed Al Scott, who leaves the term-limited office after eight years.
In Georgia House District 164, incumbent Republican Ron Stephens has narrowed over Democrat Marcus Thompson. The first-time political candidate had strong showings in both Chatham and Liberty counties, but he appears unable to offset the larger margins from Stephens strong win in Bryan County.
Chatham County will have a new coroner. Businessman David Campbell has defeated Dr. Charles Pugh for the post and will succeed Dr. William Wessinger, who is retiring.
In Georgia House District 166, Jesse Petrea easily held on to his seat over Democrat Michael Mack.
Further down the coast, Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson lost to Keith Higgins, an independent challenger. Johnson won votes in Camden County but lost by a significant margin in Glynn. The office serves both counties. Johnson was embroiled in controversy over how she handled the arrests of the men accused of shooting Ahmaud Arbery in February. Three white men now face charges in the killing of Arbery, who was Black. Higgins collected signatures to earn a spot on the ballot as an independent candidate.
In State House District 179, Don Hogan kept his seat over Democrat Julie Jordan.
Jeff Chapman was re-elected Glynn County tax commissioner over Utrina Rankin. Walter Rafolski defeated Talor Ritz for the Glynn County Commissioner At Large Post 2, and Jerry Mancil remains as At Large Post 2 for the Glynn Board of Education, defeating Regina H. Johnson.
Glynn voters also passed a 1% special purpose sales tax for education.
In Bryan County, Republican Mark D. Crowe defeated Democrat Al Hagan for sheriff.
Liberty County voters agreed to expand the Level 1 Freeport Tax Exemption. In Midway, a special city council race was led by Malcom Williams, followed by Stanley E. Brown, Sr., and Neal Eric Jones, Sr. Misty R. Schmitt finished fourth.
In Camden County, Lannie E. Brant held onto his District 1 County Commission seat. In St. Marys, John F. Morrissey remains mayor after a close call from Jerre Brumbelow.
In McIntosh County, Republican Mandy Harrison defeated incumbent Carolyn Palmer for Clerk of Superior Court. Sheriff Stephen D. Jessup won another term over Charles “Chunk” Jones. Darien voters passed a Special General Obligation Bond.
For Public Service Commission District 4, Republican Lauren Bubba McDonald, Jr. appeared headed to another term over challenges by Democrat Daniel Blackman and Libertarian Nathan Wilson. In District 1, incumbent Jason Shaw appears to have defeated Democrat Robert Gl Bryan and Libertarian Elizabeth Melton.