Republicans keep control of Georgia House and Senate
ATLANTA (AP) — Republicans retained their majorities in Georgia’s legislature and were seeking to maintain their lock on statewide offices as votes continued being counted Wednesday.
Republicans won 33 Senate seats, while in the House, they won 96 seats and were leading in five other races The Associated Press had not yet called early Wednesday
All 180 House seats and 56 Senate seats were up for election.
Heading into Tuesday’s election, Republicans had a 103-76 majority in the House after Democrat Henry “Wayne” Howard of Augusta died in October. In the Senate, Republicans held a 34-22 majority. However, Republicans redrew district lines to create more Democratic-leaning seats and bolster their incumbents, so some losses were expected.
Republicans also hold all seven of the other statewide offices besides governor and U.S. senator that are on the ballot Tuesday.
Republicans had incumbents defending four statewide offices. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger successfully won reelection against state Rep. Bee Nguyen and Libertarian Ted Metz. State School Superintendent Richard Woods faced Democrat Alisha Thomas Searcy. Insurance Commissioner John King was running against Democrat Janice Laws Robinson.
Democrats recruited their strongest statewide field in a decade, with nominees that drew national notice, including state Nguyen, who sought to leverage her party’s outrage over Georgia’s restrictive voting law to raise money nationwide, and state Sen. Jen Jordan, who ran for attorney general after a raising her profile as a defender of abortion rights.
Republicans also nominated state senators for the three other statewide positions. Burt Jones was running for lieutenant governor against Democrat Charlie Bailey and Libertarian Ryan Graham. Tyler Harper was running for agriculture commissioner against Democrat Nakita Hemingway and Libertarian David Raudabaugh. Bruce Thornton was running for labor commissioner against Democratic state Rep. William Boddie and Libertarian Emily Anderson.
Republicans won the majority in the state Senate when several Democrats switched parties after the 2002 elections and won the majority in the House in 2004.
Democrats were hoping to gain in the General Assembly after redistricting. Fair Districts Georgia, a group that opposes gerrymandering, projected that Republicans had the advantage in 98 of the new state House districts drawn by a Republican majority last year, while Democrats had the advantage in 82 districts.
Republicans, though, held or took over several districts drawn to favor Democrats. The longest-serving member of the House, Republican Gerald Greene, won in a southwest Georgia seat that should lean Democratic.
Republican and former state House member Scott Hilton beat incumbent Democrat Mary Robichaux in a district that spanned parts of northern Fulton and southwestern Gwinnett counties.
The margin of Republican control is important. Under Georgia law, an absolute majority of all members is required in either chamber to pass legislation. Particularly in the House, if Republicans can bring back more than 100, it would make it easier for them to muster 91 votes on every bill.
Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections. And follow the AP’s election coverage of the 2022 elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.