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Updated 12:19 a.m. | Construction company owner Rick Allen avoided a GOP primary runoff in Georgia’s 12th District and now moves on to face Democratic Rep. John Barrow in November.
Allen defeated his next closest primary opponent, businessman Eugene Yu, 54 percent to 16 percent, with 93 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.
The five-candidate GOP primary in this district was expected to head to a runoff — triggered when no candidate garners at least 50 percent. That scenario would have benefited Barrow, a top target of national Republicans, as Republicans would have faced nine more weeks of not focusing time and money on defeating the incumbent.
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., will likely confront the toughest primary challenge of his congressional career this cycle from a well-known local law enforcement official.
The four-term Democrat, known for his unscripted comments in the House, will face former DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown in a May 20 primary in the deep blue 4th District in the Atlanta suburbs.
Although there are no independent public polls of the race yet, Brown has so far raised more money than Johnson — a rare feat for a challenger. What’s more, Brown enjoys high name recognition due to his long tenure as sheriff in one of the Peach State’s largest counties. For these reasons, plus a few more, local Democrats see him as a formidable primary challenger for Johnson.
“Assuming that Tom can keep up his fundraising pace, he’s probably the most credible challenge that Hank has had so far,” said Cabral Franklin, a Georgia Democratic consultant.