Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal easily beat two challengers to win the Republican nomination, allowing him to run for re-election against former President Jimmy Carter's grandson.
Unofficial tallies showed Deal winning more than 70 percent of the vote Tuesday with 7 percent of precincts reporting. He beat former Dalton Mayor David Pennington and State Schools Superintendent John Barge.
Now Deal will face Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter and Libertarian Andrew Hunt in November's general election. Carter did not face a contested Democratic primary Tuesday.
Democrats in Georgia are hoping that Carter can mount a serious challenge in a state where a Republican now holds every statewide office.
Michelle Nunn easily won the Democratic nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, with the party hoping she can thwart the GOP's hopes of taking control of the chamber for the last two years of President Barack Obama's term.
Early unofficial returns showed Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, had 76 percent of the vote against her three opponents, with about 9 percent of precincts reporting.
In the Republican race, three congressmen — Reps. Paul Broun of Athens, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Jack Kingston of Savannah — faced off against former Dollar General CEO David Perdue and former Secretary of State Karen Handel. Early unofficial returns showed Kingston leading with 32 percent of the vote to Perdue's 28 percent and Handel's 17 percent. That represented about 9 percent of precincts reporting.
A July 22 runoff was likely given the crowded field of well-known and well-funded candidates and state rules that require a candidate to receive 50 percent plus one vote to advance to the general election.
The Republican primary fight has been closely watched nationally, with Republicans needing just six seats to claim a majority in the Senate. Nunn is considered a formidable opponent, and Republicans can ill afford to lose the seat, which opened when Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced plans to retire. Although the state has voted reliably Republican in recent years, Democrats see an opening with changing demographics in the state — a growing minority population and residents moving in from out of state.
Editorial Note: These were the results at press time Tuesday evening. We will follow up with complete results online and in Thursday’s edition.