2 Georgia state House incumbents lose to challengers in primaries


ATLANTA (AP) — Two Georgia state House incumbents have lost to challengers, another incumbent could face a runoff, and some former lawmakers may be on their way back to the Georgia Capitol after party primaries this week.

Republican Lauren Daniel lost a rematch of her 2022 primary to Noelle Kahaian on Tuesday in a district around Locust Grove in suburban Henry County, while Democrat Teri Anulewicz lost to challenger Gabriel Sanchez in a district around Smyrna in suburban Cobb County. Both districts had been significantly altered during a round of court-ordered redistricting last year.

Another result of that redistricting was Republicans pairing Democratic incumbents Becky Evans and Saira Draper in a DeKalb County district. Draper easily beat Evans in that matchup, although Evans had served longer in the House, in part because the redrawn district included more of Draper's former territory.

And in far southeast Georgia, Republican Steven Sainz could be headed to a runoff against retired Naval officer and airline pilot Glenn Cook in a district that covers Camden County and part of Glynn County.

Sainz said late ballots could still put him over the top but that he's operating on the assumption that there will be a runoff. “We plan to win,” Sainz wrote in a text.

Of course, it's unusual for incumbents to face trouble in legislative primaries. In the Senate, all 11 incumbents who faced primaries won, including six Republicans and five Democrats. In the House 13 Republican and 13 Democratic incumbents turned back challengers.

Among incumbents who won were Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Democrat who beat former state Sen. Nadine Thomas in a redrawn district covering parts of DeKalb and Clayton counties; Sen. Sally Harrell, an Atlanta Democrat who turned back a challenge from David Lubin in a DeKalb County district; and Sen. Ben Watson, a Savannah Republican who beat right-wing GOP challenger Beth Majeroni.

At least two former lawmakers could be returning to the Capitol's gold dome. Floyd Griffin, formerly a state senator and Milledgeville mayor, won a Democratic primary in House District 149, covering parts of Baldwin, Bibb and Jones counties. He'll face Republican incumbent Ken Vance in November in a district that was redrawn to give it a Black majority. And Valencia Stovall, a former House member, is going to a Democratic runoff in state Senate District 34, a Black-majority open seat that covers parts of Clayton and Fayette counties.