Lindy Miller came close to becoming the first Jewish woman to win a partisan statewide race, but fell short in her race for a seat on Georgia’s Public Service Commission.
As the Democratic challenger, Miller received 48.17 percent of the vote in the Dec. 4 general election runoff, while two-term Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton received 51.83 percent.
Miller issued a concession statement the next day, telling supporters that she had congratulated Eaton on retaining his District 3 seat and “urged him to listen to the voices of nearly half of his constituents and expand our investments in energy efficiency and in renewable energy.” District 3 covers Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, and Rockdale counties.
Her 18-month quest for public office over, Miller said, “For now, I am going to spend some time with my tremendous husband, Jonathan (Crane), and our three, beautiful little boys. We will bask, together, in the warmth and joy of the miraculous Chanukah lights. Thank you all.” Miller is a member of Congregation Shearith Israel and an Atlanta Jewish Times 2017 “40 Under 40” selection.
The PSC race was one of two that required a runoff because no candidate in the general election received a majority of the vote. The other was the contest for secretary of state, won by Republican Brad Raffensperger. In both cases, a Libertarian candidate forced the Democrat and Republican into the runoff.
Of Georgia’s nearly 6.43 million registered voters, a relatively impressive 61.44 percent turned out for the Nov. 6 general election, but a paltry 22.68 percent turned out in runoff.
In the end, Republicans swept 10 statewide races, topped by Brian Kemp’s defeat of Democrat Stacey Abrams (50.22 percent to 48.83 percent) in the contest to succeed Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.
The gubernatorial contest was embroiled in controversy, as Kemp remained in office as secretary of state, a position that includes oversight of the state’s elections, while campaigning. Post-election, an organization called Fair Fight Action, an outgrowth of Abrams’ campaign, has filed suit, alleging that mismanagement prevented some Georgians from exercising their right to vote.
Geoff Duncan defeated Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico (51.63 percent to 48.37 percent) and was elected lieutenant governor. Raffensperger succeeds Kemp as secretary of state, having defeated Democrat John Barrow (51.07 percent to 48.03 percent) in the runoff. Attorney General Chris Carr defeated Democrat Charlie Bailey (51.3 percent to 48.7 percent) to win election to the position that Deal appointed him to after Sam Olens (the first Jewish man to win a partisan statewide race) stepped down to become, briefly, the president of Kennesaw State University.
Democrat Lucy McBath, a gun control crusader, upset Republican incumbent Karen Handel (50.51 percent to 49.49 percent) and will represent the 6th Congressional District. Handel entered Congress after defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff in a June 2017 special election to replace Republican Tom Price, who served, briefly, as the federal secretary of health and human services.
Democrat John Lewis ran unopposed and will serve a 17th term representing the 5th Congressional District. Democrat Hank Johnson won a 7th term representing the 4th District, defeating Republican challenger Joe Profit (78.85 percent to 21.15 percent). Republican incumbent Brad Woodall narrowly won re-election to a fifth term representing the 7th District, defeating Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux by 419 votes (50.07 percent to 49.93 percent), out of more than 280,000 cast.
A half-dozen Jewish candidates ran for seats in the general assembly, with mixed results.
Republican Renee Unterman was re-elected in the 45th Senate District, while Democrat challenger Ellyn Jaeger failed in her bid in the 56th Senate District.
On the House side, Democrat Michele Henson ran unopposed for re-election in the 86th District and Mike Wilensky was victorious in the 79th District. However, Democrat Jen Slipakoff in the 36th District and Republican Alex Kaufman in the 51st District, were unsuccessful in their bids.
Despite Democratic gains, Republicans remain in control of the state House and Senate.
One hundred ninety-six days elapsed between the May 22 primaries and the Dec. 4 general election runoff.
For those curious, there are 728 days between 2018’s Nov. 6 general election and 2020’s Nov. 3 Election Day.