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State Rep. Bee Nguyen of Atlanta entered the national spotlight following the 2020 presidential election and on Tuesday became the Democratic Party’s nominee for secretary of state on Tuesday. She’ll face incumbent Brad Raffensperger on Nov. 8, 2022. // Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

Georgia Democrats now set sights on decisive November statewide races


By Stanley Dunlap, Georgia Recorder

State Rep. Bee Nguyen became the Democratic Party’s nominee Tuesday for Georgia’s elections chief, pitting her against incumbent Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the Nov. 8 general election.

Nguyen skated to victory over former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler‌ in Tuesday’s runoff by a three-to-one margin, according to unofficial election results. Also Tuesday, Democratic primary races were settled for labor and insurance commissioners and lieutenant governor.

The‌ ‌two‌ ‌remaining‌ ‌Democratic‌ ‌candidates for Secretary of State made it to a runoff following May 24’s election, as they sought to upset a Republican in a statewide office held by a member of the GOP party over the last two decades.

Nguyen gained national attention in December 2020 when she challenged unfounded election fraud claims made by President Donald Trump’s supporters at a special legislative committee hearing after the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Nguyen, the first Democratic Asian-American woman elected to Georgia state office, was endorsed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. She targeted her Nov. 8 opponent on Tuesday night, saying she will stand up for Georgians’ voting rights unlike Raffensperger and other Republican leaders.

While‌‌ ‌‌Nguyen‌‌ ‌‌and‌‌ ‌‌Raffensperger have‌‌ ‌‌been‌‌ ‌‌aligned‌‌ ‌‌dismissing baseless accusations ‌‌of‌‌ ‌‌fraud in 2020, their disagreement over the GOP voting law overhaul passed in 2021 will be at the forefront of their campaigns.

“We must remind Georgia voters that Brad Raffensperger, he is not a friend to our democracy,” Nguyen said in Tuesday’s victory speech. “We must remind Georgia voters that doing the bare minimum of following the law should not be good enough for you.”

On Tuesday, Raffensperger testified before the U.S, House Jan. 6 committee about ways outgoing President Donald Trump put pressure on‌ ‌him‌ ‌to‌ ‌overturn‌ ‌his‌ ‌election‌ ‌loss.

Raffensperger repeatedly refused overtures, becoming a pariah among a portion of the Republican base. ‌Although Raffensperger initially appeared to be a long shot for a second term, he easily defeated staunch Trump ally U.S. Rep. Jody Hice in the May 24 primary.

Lieutenant Governor

In the bid for lieutenant governor, Charlie Bailey, a former prosecutor and another Abrams-backed candidate, defeated former Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall.

Bailey overcame his second-place finish on May 24 by earning more than 63% of the votes over Hall, who also briefly served in the U.S. Congress following the death of Rep. John Lewis in 2020.

Hall’s name carries weight around metro Atlanta because of his lengthy tenure in politics but his campaign to become the senate president was relatively low-profile, as he stayed away from political debates.

Bailey will face Republican state Sen. Burt Jones, another ally of Trump, as the two seek to fill the vacant seat left by the departing GOP Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

Labor and Insurance Commissioners

After a tumultuous couple of years leading an agency that struggled to get unemployment assistance out during the peak of the pandemic, Georgia’s Republican Labor Commissioner Mark Butler declined to seek re-election in 2022.

Now, the next commissioner of the Labor Department will either be state Sen. Bruce Thompson, a Republican from White, or East Point state Rep. William Boddie, who earned a decisive win in Tuesday’s Democratic runoff over Atlanta businesswoman Nicole Horn.

Unofficial‌ ‌election‌ ‌results‌ Tuesday night ‌showed Janice Laws Robinson well ahead of Raphael Baker late Tuesday night in the Democrat’s bid to challenge Republican‌ ‌Insurance‌ ‌Commissioner‌ ‌John‌ ‌King.

The Georgia Recorder is an independent, nonprofit news organization that is focused on connecting public policies to stories of the people and communities affected by them. We bring a fresh perspective to coverage of the state’s biggest issues from our office a few blocks from Georgia’s Gold Dome.

Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. At The (Macon) Telegraph he told readers about Macon-Bibb County’s challenges implementing its recent consolidation, with a focus on ways the state Legislature determines the fate of local communities. He used open records requests to break a story of a $400 million pension sweetheart deal a county manager steered to a friendly consultant. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting for his story on the death of Gregg Allman and best beat reporting for explanatory articles on the 2018 Macon-Bibb County budget deliberations. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo, which became a sensational murder case that generated national headlines.

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