At least temporarily, Democratic Rep. John Barrow was the big winner in Tuesday's Georgia GOP primary runoffs, as the race between two Republicans vying to face him in the general election was still too close to call at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Republican state Rep. Lee Anderson led businessman Rick Allen just 13,780 votes to 13,626, with a margin of less that 0.6 percent separating the two. The winner, when the race is decided, will immediately become the GOP standard bearer in one of its best pickup opportunities in the country.
Granted, even a protracted vote counting process probably won't make much of a difference for or against Barrow, whose new district gave over 55 percent of its votes to John McCain in the 2008 presidential elections. But Barrow needs a lot of things to fall in line in order to win a tough reelection bid, and a little extra time to stockpile cash and burnish his image can't hurt.
In the other major House primary runoff Tuesday night, state Rep. Doug Collins defeated former radio host Martha Zoller in the Republican runoff in the new 9th District of Georgia, a heavily GOP-leaning seat created when Georgia gained a district in reapportionment. Collins and Zoller essentially tied in the initial primary at the end of July, but Collins leveraged his political experience to his advantage, winning the runoff 55 percent to 45 percent. Gov. Nathan Deal endorsed both Anderson and Collins in the final days of the runoff campaign and recorded robocalls in support of both of them.
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