Georgia held its primary election last night, with Taxpayer Protection Pledge signers faring quite well. At the top of the statewide ticket, Georgia Republicans will nominate a Pledge signer in the quest to replace liberal Republican Sonny Perdue, who never signed the Pledge and repeatedly raised taxes during his time in the governor's mansion. In the legislature, all but one incumbent Pledge signer won their primary. A number of challengers either won or went to a runoff election.
With state legislatures across the country poised for some historically difficult budget fights in 2011, lawmakers taking and keeping the Pledge is incredibly important in this election cycle. A quick rundown of how state Pledge signers fared in the Georgia primary follows:
No candidate managed to secure 50 percent of the vote, so the top two vote-getters, both Pledge signers, will head to a runoff election. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel received 34.1 percent of the vote, while former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal received 22.9 percent. Both have made a commitment to Georgians to oppose and veto all tax increases as governor.
This race will also go to a runoff election between two Pledge signers. Former Cobb County Board of Commissioner Chairman Sam Olens received 39.9 percent of the vote, while former state Sen. Preston Smith garnered 30.6 percent. Sen. Smith has become a hero of conservatives after his famous speech on the floor of the Georgia Senate in opposition to Gov. Perdue's hospital tax increase.
All 41 Pledge signers in the Georgia House running for reelection won, including Democrat Sheila Jones (H-44). Among challengers, 11 of 20 Pledge signers either won their primary or went to a runoff. Two of the nine unsuccessful challengers were running against incumbent Pledge signers.
Only one of 12 incumbent Pledge signers in the Georgia Senate lost his primary – Sen. John Wiles of the 37th District. Senate challengers performed very strongly: four of seven challengers either won their primary or went to a runoff. Of the three who lost, two were running against incumbent Pledge signers.
ATR will continue to solicit Pledges in all House and Senate districts leading up to the general election. To see our complete, pre-primary list of challengers who have signed the Pledge, click here. For incumbents, click here. And for a detailed breakdown of these results, please email me at [email protected].