While we liveblogged a trio of Virginia special elections here at DDHQ yesterday, there was also a State Senate election in Georgia.
In Georgia SD 54, a special election was triggered when four-term Charlie Bethel incumbent (R) took at seat on the State Court of Appeals.
Geographically, SD 54 is a located in the northwestern corner of the state, anchored around the city of Dalton. The district is typically heavily GOP. Still, the most populous county in this district, Whitfield, was one of the few in northern Georgia where Clinton improved over Obama.
In Georgia, special elections are held using a Louisiana-style jungle primary system. A primary on December 13th featured a quartet of Republicans along with one independent. If no one cleared 50%, there would be a runoff.
Chuck Payne, a Republican and Ben Carson campaign official, placed first in the primary with 35.7%. Debby Peppers, the Independent and former Whitfield County Commissioner, finished second, with 27.6%.
In the runoff, while Peppers emphasized her political independence, she became the de-facto Democrat, as Republicans unified behind Payne. As the district leans strongly GOP, Payne won, but by a noticeably smaller margin than Trump:
Further, compared the Presidential election, almost every precinct became more Democratic in the special election:
These great maps are from Adam Griffin, a poster at Dave Leip’s Election Atlas.