Democratic congressman victorious in Ga. race

By Russ Bynum Associated Press | 5/23/2014, 4:35 p.m.
U.S. Rep Hank Johnson fought off stiff competition from former DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown. Former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones is in a run-off for the sheriff’s seat.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A Democratic congressman won a metro Atlanta primary fight to keep his job Tuesday, while an Augusta businessman trounced four fellow Republicans to win the GOP nomination to challenge the Deep South’s last white, Democratic member of the U.S. House in the fall campaign.

Rep. Hank Johnson of Lithonia was victorious with 55 percent of the vote Tuesday in his Democratic primary race against Tom Brown, according to unofficial returns with nearly all precincts reporting. After 13 years as DeKalb County sheriff, Brown gave up his badge to challenge the congressman. No Republicans were seeking the 4th District seat, giving Johnson a free ride to a fifth term in November.

In eastern Georgia, Augusta construction company owner Rick W. Allen was the overwhelming pick of Republican voters seeking to oust Democratic Rep. John Barrow of Augusta in November. Despite facing four Republican opponents, Allen won outright with 54 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns with nearly all precincts reporting. Far behind Allen in second place was former Senate candidate Eugene Yu of Evans with just 16 percent of the vote.

Republicans were headed for July 22 runoffs in primaries jammed with candidates for three open U.S. House seats vacated by Republican congressmen who opted to run for the U.S. Senate.

None of the six Republican candidates got more than 50 percent of the vote in Rep. Jack Kingston’s 1st District in southeast Georgia, forcing the race into a runoff July 22. State Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler finished as the clear front-runner, with Savannah physician Bob Johnson being the runner-up. In the Democratic primary, Amy Tavio of Richmond Hill advanced to a runoff with Brian Reese of Savannah.

In east Georgia’s 10th District of east Georgia, pastor and talk radio host Jody Hice of Monroe will compete in a Republican runoff with trucking company owner Mike Collins of Jackson, whose father is former Georgia congressman Mac Collins. They finished neck-and-neck among seven GOP candidates seeking the open seat of Rep. Paul Broun of Athens.

In metro Atlanta’s 11th District, state Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville and former Georgia congressman Bob Barr of Smyrna advanced to a GOP runoff for the seat being vacated by Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta. They were the top finishers in a six-way race for the Republican nomination.

Four of Georgia’s incumbent congressmen _ Democratic Rep. David Scott of Riverdale and Republican Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Sharpsburg, Doug Collins of Gainesville and Tom Graves of Ranger, easily defeated primary opponents Tuesday.

The rest of the state’s 14 congressmen ran unopposed in the primaries.