Georgia’s high-stakes primaries, by the numbers

Next Tuesday, five states will hold primary elections. But it is Georgia that will be in the center of the spotlight, hosting top-level racing throughout the ballot.

Here are seven key numbers shaping the contours of next week’s battles in Georgia:

* 50% +1: This is perhaps the most important number to keep in mind ahead of May 24. If no candidate for a Georgian primary garners more than 50% of the vote, the top two candidates in the race will advance to the second round on June 21.

* 72%: The marquee race in Georgia on Tuesday pits GOP Gov. Brian Kemp against main challenger David Perdue, the former senator backed by former President Donald Trump. Despite repeatedly drawing fire from Trump for not supporting his bogus claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, Kemp has remained a popular figure in the party. A recent Fox Poll found that 72% of Republican voters view Kemp favorably, compared to 56% for Perdue. The survey also showed Kemp leading Perdue 60% to 28% – putting the incumbent above the runoff threshold.
* $12.3 million: One of the reasons Kemp built such a formidable lead: he enjoyed a major on-air advantage. According to an analysis of AdImpact data from CNN’s David Wright, pro-Kemp forces spent $12.3 million on ads for the primary. That’s almost double the $6.4 million spent by pro-Perdue forces. And Perdue’s campaign saw $0 in ads for the campaign’s final week.

* 1: There is no drama on the other side of the gubernatorial race: Stacey Abrams is the one and only Democratic primary candidate. If Kemp wins the GOP primary, it would set a rematch of the state’s controversial 2018 gubernatorial race — and be one of the most contested races of the 2022 midterms.

* 66%: Speaking of hotly contested races, Georgia will also top the list in the battle for control of the US Senate. On the Republican side, Herschel Walker — with support from Trump and GOP leaders in the Senate — appears to be on the way to victory on Tuesday. In the last Fox Poll, he was at 66% in the primary race, up 58 points on his closest competitor. This would provoke a clash with Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who won the seat in the January 2021 runoff election.
* 3: A primary for secretary of state would typically fly well below the national radar. But not in Georgia. Trump has his sights set on incumbent Brad Raffensperger, who refused to go along with the then-president’s efforts to “find” votes to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. Raffensperger faces three main Republican challengers on Tuesday, one of whom, Representative Jody Hice, is endorsed by Trump.
* 9: Few states have caught Trump’s attention more this primary season than Georgia as he seeks to exert influence on the GOP. The former president issued endorsements in nine GOP primaries, standing in three House races and six statewide races — including for fire and safety commissioner, as part of his feud with Kemp.

* 710 137: That’s the number of people who voted early in the state through Thursday, which is a record, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office. It marks a 180% increase from the same point in the early voting period in 2018 and a 149% increase from 2020. Early voting in Georgia ends Friday.

Point: Georgia’s primaries will shed more light on the direction the Republican Party wants to go – and set up a critical general election in the battleground state.

About Alma Ackerman

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