Voters settled a pair of runoffs Tuesday to send two new state lawmakers to the Gold Dome. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder
Cobb County voters overwhelmingly backed Republican Devan Seabaugh in a runoff Tuesday that was seen as a prelude to next year’s high-stakes elections.
The race to replace Marietta Republican state Rep. Bert Reeves was one of two state House contests settled Tuesday, making the pair of special elections the first held since Georgia’s controversial election law fully took effect. The other election centered on a south Georgia district.
The seats were expected to stay in GOP hands, but the Cobb County vacancy in particular attracted the attention of groups like Democrat Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight and Republican Kelly Loeffler’s Greater Georgia, which both rallied voters to the polls.
The runoff saw slightly higher turnout, with about 1,800 more voters turning out in the two-way contest than did for last month’s five-candidate jungle-style primary. All told, 8,900 people cast a ballot in the runoff.
Seabaugh, an executive at Metro Atlanta Ambulance, emerged the victor with about 63% of the vote, according to unofficial results. The Marietta Republican entered Tuesday’s runoff after falling short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff last month, walking away then with 47% of the vote.
Priscilla Smith, who ran as a progressive, ended the night Tuesday with 37% of the vote. The Kennesaw Democrat is an educator and artist known for her impersonation of President Donald Trump. For comparison, Smith garnered 44% of the vote just last fall when she challenged Reeves, who won with 56%.
Seabaugh had raised nearly $130,000 as of his last filing a few days ago. Smith reported about $72,000.
Republicans quickly celebrated the win Tuesday night while continuing to decry Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All Star game out of Georgia in protest of the state’s GOP election law. The game, originally set for Truist Park in Cobb County, was being played in Colorado as the votes were tallied Tuesday night.
In the first accessible, secure election under Georgia’s Election Integrity Act, Fair Fight struck out against our lineup of economic opportunity, quality healthcare and lower taxes. The real all-stars were the voters of Cobb County who elected Republican @DevanSeabaugh tonight.
— Speaker David Ralston (@SpeakerRalston) July 14, 2021
Tonight, Georgia Republicans won a Republican district, just like Georgia Democrats will continue to win our Democratic state. The #HD34 election was an opportunity for us to protect voters in the midst of unprecedented attacks on the freedom to vote across the country. #gapol
— Fair Fight (@fairfightaction) July 14, 2021
Voters in south Georgia also settled a special election to replace state Rep. Greg Morris, a Vidalia Republican.
In this race, the choice was between two Republicans. Leesa Hagan, a Lyons small business consultant who had the backing of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, appeared to eke out a win Tuesday night with nearly 52% of the vote, according to unofficial results.
Hagan raised about $72,000, about half of which she loaned herself. She beat Wally Sapp, with a little over 6,000 people turning out to vote and about 200 votes separating the candidates. Sapp, a Baxley businessman, raised about $25,000.
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