- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - The Latest on Georgia elections (all times local):

___

11:50 p.m.

Democrat Tonya Anderson has defeated Republican incumbent Sen. JaNice Van Ness in a state Senate district including parts of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties.

Van Ness has represented the district since winning a 2015 special election over Anderson. Until then, the district was represented by a Democrat. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal appointed the district’s former state Sen. Ronald Ramsey to a judicial position.

Anderson, a former state representative, is a minister and also a former mayor of Lithonia. Van Ness is the founder of a group of private schools.

The race is one of 14 contested state Senate seats this November.

___

11:48 p.m.

Republican Rep. Gerald Greene has won re-election to a Georgia House seat representing eight southern counties, defeating an independent candidate who stepped in after state election officials disqualified a Democrat who planned to challenge the longtime incumbent.

Democrats hoped the majority-black district was ripe for a challenge to Greene, who was first elected in 1982. But their chosen candidate, James Williams, was told that he lived outside the district - despite voting there for years without issue. State election officials blamed incorrect county records. The case received national attention from voting rights organizations.

Democrats recruited pastor Kenneth Zachary to run as an independent after Williams’ disqualification.

___

11:36 p.m.

Donald Trump has won the state of Georgia, maintaining a winning streak for GOP presidential candidates in the southern state.

Even as voters went to the polls on Tuesday, Georgia Democrats hoped that Hillary Clinton could turn the state blue for the first time since 1992. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, was the party’s nominee that year.

But unofficial results and exit polling indicated that Trump was dominant in much of the state, and Clinton’s margins in metro Atlanta couldn’t overtake the Republican nominee.

The state’s demographics are on track to make Democrats more competitive, as more minorities move to the state and the percentage of white registered voters continues to decline. But experts say the numbers alone didn’t make Georgia poachable for Clinton this year.

___

11:35 p.m.

Republican Rep. Rob Woodall has been re-elected to serve a fourth term in his metro Atlanta district.

Unofficial election returns Tuesday showed Woodall of Lawrenceville defeated Democratic challenger Rashid Malik in the 7th Congressional District.

Woodall was first elected to Congress in 2010 after he served as chief of staff to the district’s prior congressman, GOP Rep. John Linder. The heavily Republican-leaning district includes portions of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties.

A political newcomer, Democrat Malik is CEO of Malik College, which offers associate-degree courses and certification programs in Atlanta.

Woodall raised more than $572,000 for his re-election campaign. As of Sept. 30, Malik reported no fundraising activities to the Federal Election Commission.

___

11:30 p.m.

Georgia voters have rejected a constitutional amendment allowing the state to take over low-performing schools.

Opponents funneled more than $4.4 million into the state for ads attacking Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal. Deal and his allies pitched the plan as a lifeline to children attending low-performing schools. Supporters reported spending more than $3 million on their own ads but got outspent.

Teachers’ organizations and other education groups said a state takeover would silence parents’ voices.

Similar programs are used in Louisiana and Tennessee. A superintendent appointed by the governor can make up to 20 schools each year into charters, close them or overhaul management.

Opponents pointed to mixed results in other states and said lawmakers’ funding cuts weakened schools. Supporters argued that local officials had years to improve schools independently.

___

11:30 p.m.

Georgia voters have approved a constitutional amendment abolishing the state’s independent judicial watchdog agency and allowing the Legislature to recreate it.

The question about the Judicial Qualifications Commission was one of four proposed statewide constitutional amendments on the general election ballot.

The commission was created by constitutional amendment in 1972. It is responsible for investigating complaints of ethical misconduct by judges and for disciplining them.

The proposal’s supporters had raised concerns some judges’ due process rights have been violated, saying the commission needs more oversight. Critics called the proposal a politically motivated attack on a constitutionally created watchdog agency whose independence is crucial.

___

11:10 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop has been re-elected to Congress.

Unofficial returns Tuesday showed Bishop of Columbus defeated Republican challenger Greg Duke in southwest Georgia’s 2nd District.

Duke, an optician from Leesburg, sought to deny Bishop a 13th term as he challenged the veteran congressman for the second straight election. In 2014, Bishop defeated Duke by winning 59 percent of the vote.

The 2nd District covers 29 counties in southwest Georgia and includes the cities of Columbus, Macon and Albany.

During the campaign, Bishop said his experience and committee assignments make him well-suited to safeguard the district’s military installations, which include Fort Benning. Duke argued stagnant local economies are causing the district to lose population, citing a study by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

___

11:10 p.m.

Georgia’s longest-serving incumbent congressman has won a 16th term in the U.S. House.

Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta defeated Republican challenger Doug Bell at the polls Tuesday, according to unofficial returns.

Lewis, who rose to prominence during the civil rights movement, has represented metro Atlanta’s 5th District since 1987. Lewis made headlines this summer when he led congressional Democrats to stage a sit-in on the House floor to protest lawmakers’ failure to act on gun violence.

Bell, who owns a cleaning service in Atlanta, raised less than $10,000 for the race as of Sept. 30. Lewis reported total fundraising of more than $960,000.

___

11:10 p.m.

Republican Rep. Tom Price has been re-elected to Congress in his suburban Atlanta district.

Unofficial election returns Tuesday showed Price defeated Democratic challenger Rodney Stooksbury to win a seventh term in the 6th District.

The district, which includes portions of Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties, was drawn to favor Republicans. Price raised more than $2.1 million to defend his seat, though Stooksbury hardly put up a fight aside from having his name on the ballot. The Democrat had no campaign website and had not reported a single dollar in fundraising to the Federal Election Commission as of Sept. 30.

___

11:10 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson has won a sixth term in Congress.

Unofficial election returns Tuesday showed Johnson of Lithonia defeated Republican challenger Victor Armendariz of Chamblee in Georgia’s 4th District.

Johnson was favored to win re-election to his metro Atlanta district, which was drawn to give an edge to Democrats. The district includes portions of DeKalb, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties.

A political newcomer, Armendariz campaigned as the son of an immigrant father who supports replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax. His total fundraising as of Sept. 30 was less than $7,000 - compared to more than $431,000 raised by Johnson.

___

11:10 p.m.

Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk has won a second term in Congress.

Unofficial election returns Tuesday showed Loudermilk of Cassville defeated Democratic challenger Don Wilson in the 11th District north of Atlanta.

Loudermilk first won election to the U.S. House two years ago to fill the vacancy left by then-Rep. Phil Gingrey, a fellow Republican who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate. The 11th District was drawn to favor GOP candidates, covering Bartow and Cherokee counties as well as a large portion of Cobb County.

Loudermilk raised more than $761,000 for his first re-election campaign. Wilson, a Marietta investment banker, reported no fundraising through Sept. 30.

___

10:30 p.m.

Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson, who has won re-election to the U.S. Senate, proclaimed victory and praised his opponent in a speech to supporters at the state G.O.P.’s election night party in Atlanta.

Isakson said his challenger, Democrat Jim Barksdale, had called him moments ago to concede the race and congratulate him on the win, which Isakson said was a class act.

Isakson said “God bless him, I wish him the best of luck.”

Barksdale is a newcomer to state politics and ran a sleepy campaign until early October, when he ramped up criticism of Isakson’s continued endorsement of Trump.

Though he was expected to win, Isakson sometimes struggled to draw a line between himself and Trump while maintaining support for the party’s divisive presidential nominee.

___

9:25 p.m.

Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson has won re-election to the U.S. Senate, holding off two challengers.

Isakson relied on a series of television ads focused on his Senate work, largely avoiding references to the presidential campaign. Though he was expected to win, Isakson sometimes struggled to draw a line between himself and Donald Trump while maintaining support for the party’s divisive presidential nominee. The 71-year-old also dealt with questions about his health. He has Parkinson’s disease.

Democrat Jim Barksdale is a newcomer to state politics and ran a sleepy campaign until early October when he ramped up criticism of Isakson’s continued endorsement of Trump. But unofficial results suggest the shift was too little, too late.

___

9:05 p.m.

So far, so good.

That’s the message from Georgia’s top election official as results begin trickling in on Tuesday evening. Polls closed in Georgia at 7 p.m.

Security was a top concern for election officials across the country this year. Federal and state officials were on guard for attempted attacks by foreign or domestic groups trying to generate confusion or undermine confidence in the results.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp says that his office has prepared for any attempts to attack the website where unofficial results are posted. Kemp says the site is functioning as intended with no hint of trouble.

He says the agency has back-up plans to keep people and media around the state updates if the site was targeted. Kemp’s comments came in an interview with WSB-TV.

___

8:55 p.m.

Republican Drew Ferguson has been elected to Congress, where he will succeed retiring GOP Rep. Lynn Westmoreland.

Unofficial election returns Tuesday showed Ferguson, a dentist and former mayor of West Point, defeated Democrat Angela Pendley of Grantville in the 3rd District.

The west Georgia congressional seat became open when Westmoreland decided not to seek a seventh term in the U.S. House. Even with no incumbent on the ballot, the GOP and Ferguson had a big advantage because the district was drawn to favor Republicans.

Ferguson emerged as the Republican nominee to replace Westmoreland after a seven-way GOP primary race and a runoff. He raised more than $1.1 million for the election, while Pendley reported raising no cash.

___

8:55 p.m.

Republican Rep. Austin Scott has been re-elected to serve a fourth term in his south Georgia district.

Unofficial election returns Tuesday showed Scott of Tifton defeated Democratic challenger James Neal Harris in the 8th Congressional District.

The 2016 campaign marked the first time Scott had faced opposition in the November general election since 2010, when he first won election to Congress by defeating Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon.

The Republican-leaning 8th District covers 24 south Georgia counties and includes the cities of Valdosta, Thomasville and Moultrie.

Harris, a private investigator and retired Bibb County sheriff’s deputy, previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2006.

___

8:55 p.m.

Republican Rep. Rick Allen is returning to Washington for a second term in Congress.

Unofficial election returns Tuesday show Allen of Augusta defeated Democratic challenger Patricia McCracken in eastern Georgia’s 12th District.

Allen, who owns a construction company, first won election to the U.S. House two years ago when he defeated Democratic Rep. John Barrow. The 12th District covers 19 mostly rural counties and includes the cities of Augusta, Statesboro and Vidalia.

Allen raised more than $1 million to defend his seat. McCracken, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2010, made little effort to challenge Allen. She had no campaign website. The Federal Election Commission said McCracken reported a little more than $20,000 in campaign cash - all of it her own money.

___

8 p.m.

Trump-Pence buttons adorned many of the lapels of Republicans as they streamed into the Georgia G.O.P.’s watch party at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta hotel in the city’s Buckhead neighborhood.

Two giant portraits of former President Ronald Reagan flanked both sides of the stage, with two more large Donald Trump and Mike Pence photos on the stage - a photo of the White House directly behind the podium.

Results were beginning to roll in on video screens in the hotel’s ballroom, as Georgians awaited results in the presidential contest and also in the U.S. Senate contest that pits Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson against challengers Jim Barksdale, a Democrat, and Allen Buckley, a Libertarian.

In the parking lot outside the hotel, one car was plastered with two dozen Trump-Pence bumper stickers on its doors, windows and hood.

___

6:50 p.m.

An election protection official says some voters were denied provisional ballots at several polling stations in Atlanta.

Georgia Election Protection coalition spokesman Harold Franklin says poll mangers refused to provide provisional ballots to voters on Tuesday. Franklins says they received reports that voters were given no reason of refusal at several stations including Therrell High School and the Tracey Wyatt Recreation Complex.

The Secretary of State officials say they have not received reports of provisional ballot denials.

Franklin claims voters who are eligible or entitled to a provisional ballot were denied. He did not know the amount of voters who were refused a provisional ballot, but said a bulk occurred in Fulton County.

Franklin says he spoke with Fulton County election officials, who he said told polling managers to provide voters with ballots.

The election protection team is organized by the Lawyers Committee for Civils Rights Under Law.

___

6 p.m.

Officials say a polling station in suburban Atlanta was evacuated after a small electrical fire.

The DeKalb County Board of Registration said in a news release that All Saints Catholic in Dunwoody will remain open an additional 30 minutes after the fire occurred early Tuesday. The precinct was originally supposed close at 7 p.m.

Officials say firefighters responded to the fire around 11:50 a.m. at the church, which temporarily suspended voting and forced voters to evacuate.

Voting was interrupted between 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports there were technical glitches in Gwinnett County along with delays in openings at two polling sites.

___

9:10 a.m.

Georgia voters are heading to the polls to determine whether the state will remain red or go to a Democratic presidential candidate.

Republicans remain confident they can keep the state in Donald Trump’s column Tuesday. Public polling suggests Trump is clinging to a small lead over Hillary Clinton.

Voters also will decide whether to send Republican Johnny Isakson back to the U.S. Senate for a third term.

Isakson faces Democrat Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley on the ballot.

Eight U.S. House incumbents also face opposition.

Further down the ballot are four proposed amendments to Georgia’s constitution. One would allow the state to take over public schools that consistently fail to meet standards.

Another amendment would impose a new tax on strip clubs.

Polls will remain open until 7 p.m.

___

3:24 a.m.

Georgia voters will determine whether the state will remain red or go to a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in more than 20 years.

Republicans remain confident they can keep the state in Donald Trump’s column Tuesday. Public polling suggests Trump is clinging to a small lead over Hillary Clinton.

But Democrats hope Trump’s unpopularity with minority voters and GOP-leaning women gives Clinton an opening.

Former president Bill Clinton is the last Democrat to take Georgia. That was in 1992.

President Barack Obama lost Georgia to John McCain by six points and to Mitt Romney by eight. Democrats here say even a closer loss than Obama’s contests means Georgia is headed for battleground state status.

Polls are open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide