Stacey Abrams-backed Democrats Sweep Runoff Elections

Photo Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

Key Points
  • Abrams endorsed three candidates.
  • All three Abrams endorsements won.
  • Democrats are fielding one of the most diverse statewide tickets.

The Gist

While the drama surrounding former president Donald Trump and  Georgia’s 2020 election gripped the airwaves yesterday, Georgians lined up to cast votes in Tuesday’s runoff election that cemented the Democratic ticket for the statewide offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, labor commissioner and insurance commissioner. The big winners: Candidates backed by Stacey Abrams.

The Winners

Of the four statewide runoff races decided Tuesday, Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor, had made endorsements in three, backing Charlie Bailey for lieutenant governor, Bee Nguyen for secretary of state and William “Will” Boddie, Jr. for labor commissioner. 

All three handily won their races. 

  • Bailey beat Kwanza Hall with 63% of the vote. 
  • Nguyen trounced Dee Dawkins-Haigler with 77% of the vote. 
  • Boddie, Jr. beat Nicole Horn with just over 62% of the vote. 

Separately, Janice Laws Robinson overwhelmingly defeated Raphael Baker for the Democratic nomination for insurance commissioner with nearly 64% of the vote.  

How It Went Down

Coming into the primary runoff for lieutenant governor, Harris County-native Bailey appeared an underdog; he had won just 18% of the vote compared to his opponent Kwanza Hall’s 30%. Hall did not bother debating Bailey when invited by the Atlanta Press Club.

But on Tuesday night Bailey rallied. A former public prosecutor, he delivered a victory speech at the Dakota Blue Bar in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood, just a few hours after the polls closed. It was standing room only. 

“We all deserve the same dignity, the same safety, the same justice, the same opportunity to build a better life for our kids than the one that we have,” said Bailey, adding, “It’s these values that have driven my life, it’s these values that I learned in west Georgia, on a cattle farm in Harris County.”

Charlie Bailey speaks with a supporter before delivering his victory speech Tuesday night. (Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon)

Like a cheerleading chant gone viral, several voters on Tuesday night said their vote was influenced by Abrams and topped it off with: “I believe in Stacey.”

Tanya Wilson, 61, was one of them. Wilson had voted for Hall in the primary but switched to Bailey after he secured Abrams’ endorsement on June 2.

Georgia Democrats now have one of the most diverse ticket ballots in the South this election cycle, and it’s something supporters said they are excited about: Abrams, a Black woman; Bailey, a white man; and Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American woman. “We’ve got a ticket to win,” said Douglas Dean, a former state representative and activist. “It’s the first time I’ve felt that it represents every group in the state of Georgia.”

Douglas Dean and Charlie Bailey embrace outside Dakota Blue Tuesday night. (Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon) 

What’s Next

The general election is held on November 8. Here are the matchups.  

  • Lt. Governor: Bailey faces Republican Burt Jones and Libertarian Ryan Graham.
  • Secretary of State: Nguyen faces Republican incumbent Brad Raffensperger and Libertarian Ted Metz.
  • Insurance Commissioner: Robinson will face Republican incumbent John King and Libertarian Emily Anderson. 
  • Labor Commissioner: Boddie, Jr. will face Republican Bruce Thompson.

A summary of top Republican v. Democrat matchups for the November general election that resulted from the primary election cycle. Illustration by Brittney Phan for State Affairs

Join the Conversation

Check the full election results from Tuesday’s runoff on the secretary of state’s website

What do you want to know about the Democratic Primary Runoffs? Write to [email protected] or on Twitter: @alemzs