Georgia looks like it did the night before

Georgia on Wednesday morning looks a lot like Georgia did the day before Tuesday’s midterm elections. The state’s top offices remain in the hands of the incumbent Republicans. And there were no upsets in congressional races, writes The Current’s editor in chief, Margaret Coker.

Credit: Kobby Mendez/Unsplash

But when it comes to the sale of alcohol in some areas of Coastal Georgia, there will be a revolutionary change of sorts come January. In Camden County, voters backed a measure to allow the sale of liquor in St. Mary’s on Sunday. Bryan County voted to allow Sunday sales of alcohol where the drinks are sold. And in Bulloch County, residents voted to allow for package stores to be licensed in the county’s unincorporated areas.

In noteworthy down-ballot contests, St. Mary’s City Council got a new member — Danny Riggins — and incumbent Steven Conner kept his seat in a three-way race.

Chatham County residents said No to a dedicated 1% Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax that would’ve raised $420 million over 5 years for public transportation, roads, bridges and bike and walk ways.

In Glynn County, two competitive races for the county commission went to Republicans. Thomas “Bo” Clark won his bid for a county commission at-large post, beating Democrat Richard Ingalls. David Sweat, a retired banker and a native of Brunswick, beat former Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey in the County Commission District 4 race 52%-48%.

composite Walker Warnock

On to Dec. 6

Incumbent Republicans swept to victory in Georgia’s top races yesterday, but one, much-ballyhooed contest remained undecided.

Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will square off in a runoff next month that could determine the balance-of-power in the U.S. Senate.

With all precincts reporting Wednesday afternoon, the Savannah-born Warnock was leading the Trump-backed Walker by 49.41% of the vote to 48.52%. With neither candidate clearing the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff, voters will be asked to decide the winner on Dec. 6.

The possibility of a split-ticket victory between Republicans and Democrats in races for Georgia’s top offices underscored Georgia’s status as a battleground state in these hyper-partisan times, writes The Current’s editor in chief, Margaret Coker, and reporter Jake Shore.

With the nation suffering from historic-high inflation rates, the economy was on the mind of many voters. But so was character and personal integrity, especially in the Senate race between Warnock and Walker.

Gov. Brian Kemp with his wife, Marty, gives a thumbs-up sign in celebration of his reelection win over Stacey Abrams late Nov. 8, 2022. Credit: Sofi Gratas/GPB News

‘Reports of my political death have been greatly exaggerated’

“It looks like the reports of my political death have been greatly exaggerated,” Kemp said to cheers Tuesday night in Atlanta.

The incumbent Republican governor went into Tuesday the favorite to defeat Democrat Stacey Abrams after consistently leading in the polls. Abrams called Kemp late Tuesday night to concede, and the Associated Press called the race at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday. 

Kemp has never criticized Trump publicly but he has embraced the support of national Republican figures, such as former Vice President Mike Pence, who have fallen out of Trump’s favor, writes Jill Nolin and Stanley Dunlap of the Georgia Recorder.

The governor put the national economy at the center of his reelection bid and touted the strength of the state’s economy coming out of the pandemic at every opportunity. He also pledged to support another round of tax refunds and a one-time property tax grant to provide temporary relief from rising housing costs.

Pooler rec center voting
The Pooler Recreation Center saw few lines, steady voters early Tuesday morning. Credit: Jeffery Glover/The Current GA

‘Very smooth’

In the run-up to the midterm elections, Billy Wooten, supervisor of the Chatham County Board of Elections, expressed confidence in the voting system. As polls closed Tuesday evening, all signs suggested that his confidence about the voting process were well-founded. County election officials, poll watchers, and voters all offered up in unison some variation of the phrase “very smooth” to describe the midterm balloting, writes The Current’s Craig Nelson.

“It’s been great. It went very smoothly,” said Tom Mahoney, chairman of the Chatham County Board of Elections. “Very smooth as opposed to the primary elections,” said Beth Majeroni, a conservative stalwart who served as a poll watcher at Skidaway Community Church in Precinct 4.

How far the apparent success in mounting the election will go towards allaying doubts about the integrity of the state’s voting system remains unclear, however, especially with Donald Trump poised to enter the 2024 presidential race. Among many Georgia Republicans, concerns linger from the 2020 presidential election that the system is flawed, if not rigged.

Coastal Georgia counties OK alcohol sales, some taxes

Chatham votes down transportation sales tax, while Liberty, Glynn pass new sales tax measures

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Map the vote: US Senate, governor races in Georgia

See where the votes came in for each candidate — and where they didn’t — across the state.

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GOP wins statewide offices

Attorney General, Lt. Governor races remain close, but unlikely to change. .

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Election 2022: Coastal Georgia legislature results

In Coastal Georgia: Mallow, Hodges to join Watson in state senate

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In Chatham County, voting drama fails to materialize

Elections supervisor’s confidence in process vindicated

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Georgia Republicans roll in state races; US Senate goes to runoff

Rep. Buddy Carter beats challenger Herring, overcomes Jan. 6 criticism to retain Coastal Georgia’s House seat

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Abrams concedes as Kemp wins rematch for Georgia governor

Challenger concedes while larger counties still being counted.

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Election 2022: Coastal Georgia county results

Glynn, Liberty pass taxes; St Mary’s OKs Sunday liquor sales.

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Few lines, steady voting marks early election hours

Election Day news, observations from polls throughout Coastal Georgia

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