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2022 Midterms

These Candidates Scored Big Victories on Primary Day

A rundown of last night’s pivotal wins and losses in both parties.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters during an election night watch party on May 24 in Atlanta. (Brynn Anderson/Associated Press)

It was a night in which Georgia’s Democratic and Republican primary candidates took center stage nationally.

Incumbent Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger scored a surprisingly decisive Republican primary victory over Trump-endorsed challenger Jody Hice. On the Democratic side, state Rep. Bee Nguyen and former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler are headed to a runoff next month.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Republican Herschel Walker is set for a general election matchup with incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock after both men officially secured their party’s nomination.

Below is a rundown of primary wins and losses.

Georgia Governor’s race

Republican primary

Incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp secured a landslide victory over his Trump-endorsed challenger, David Perdue.

Kemp received 73.69% of the votes to Perdue’s 21.80%, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Why this race matters to Black voters:

Trump was extremely unpopular with Black voters right before leaving office more than two years ago. According to a CNN exit poll, just 12% of Black voters voted for Trump in 2020.

Kemp’s GOP primary win is a noteworthy indictment of Trump’s political clout in Georgia, especially when it comes to the relevance of his unproven claim that the 2020 election was rigged.

Perdue repeatedly stressed Trump’s erroneous voter fraud message on the campaign trail and during multiple debates with Kemp. At times, it seemed like the only issue he was running on. 

Trump’s message only helped Perdue win a fraction of support among the state’s typically hyperpartisan GOP base, signaling even Republicans are ready to move on from the so-called “Big Lie.”

Kemp is now poised for a rematch against Stacey Abrams, who ran unopposed in Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Georgia Secretary of State

Republican primary

Raffensperger surprised some political observers after so much fuss was raised among state GOP insiders about his alleged role in Trump’s 2020 election loss.

The incumbent secretary of state received 52.31% of the votes on Tuesday, enough to secure an outright election night win. He’s now poised to take on whoever wins the Democratic runoff between Nguyen and Dawkins-Haigler in June.

Hice, Raffensperger’s Trump-backed opponent, only received 33.37% of the vote.

Whoever wins the race in November will be in charge of overseeing elections at the state level for the next four years.

Democratic Primary

Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American to win a seat in the Georgia General Assembly, received 44.25% of the vote. Dawkins-Haigler, the business leader and minister, came in a distant second with 18.72%.

Why this race matters to Black voters

Polls indicate protecting voting rights remains a top concern for Black Georgia voters this year.

Trump and his most ardent supporters have maligned Kemp and Raffensperger for choosing not to “find” the votes Trump needed to win Georgia in November 2020 and failing to prove widespread voter fraud took place after multiple investigations and at least one statewide audit. Black candidates cited concerns over voter rights as their motivation for running for secretary of state due to Republicans enacting a number of election integrity laws, including SB 202.

U.S. Senate Republican Primary

Walker ran away with the GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination as expected Tuesday night.

The 1982 University of Georgia Heisman Trophy winner received 68.22% of votes.

His closest Republican rival, Gary W. Black, received only 13.35% of votes, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Why this race matters to Black voters

A recent UGA poll obtained by Capital B shows Walker isn’t very popular with Black voters, who have taken the opposite stance on many of his party’s positions on issues such as Medicaid expansion and voting rights.

But his win last night is undeniably historic, setting up the first U.S. Senate general election matchup between two Black people in state history.

Warnock will take on Walker in the fall after defeating primary challenger Tamara Johnson-Shealey by a wide margin on Tuesday.