Graves, Hawkins to face off in second runoff

ATLANTA — Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are headed to a runoff. Again.

A month after Graves won a special election runoff to replace Nathan Deal in District 9, he’s back on the campaign trail against the same opponent. Graves garnered 49.5 percent of the vote — just under the so-called 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff — to Hawkins’ 26.7 percent.

During a May 11 special election, Graves, a Republican from Ranger and former state representative, topped a crowded field, taking 34.8 percent of the vote – below the majority he needed to avoid a runoff. Hawkins, a Gainesville Republican and former state senator, came in second during the May 11 special election, pulling in 23.2 percent of the ballots cast.

The two squared off June 8, and Graves won with 56.4 percent of the vote. The primary runoff is scheduled for Aug. 10; no Democrats are running for the post.

Meanwhile, Deal is headed to a runoff with Karen Handel in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

In other primary action, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson turned away competition from former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones in the Democratic primary in District 4. Johnson will face Republican Liz Carter in the general election.

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