Republican Brad Raffensperger has defeated Democrat John Barrow in the runoff to become Georgia's next secretary of state, taking the office once held by Governor-elect Brian Kemp (R.).
With 93 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Raffensperger led by about 75,000 votes. The Associated Press called the victory around 10:20 p.m.
Raffensperger has pledged to fight voter fraud and maintain the integrity of the state's election systems through strict record-keeping practices. The state lawmaker said he was humbled by the victory.
"I'm very humbled and very honored to have won this race tonight," he said in a victory speech. "We couldn't have done it without y'all, and we couldn't have done that without the blessing of the Lord."
Raffensperger declares victory in the race for Georgia secretary of state. "I'm very humbled and very honored to have won this race tonight. We couldn't have done it without y'all, and we couldn't have done that without the blessing of the lord." #gapol
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) December 5, 2018
His victory comes nearly a month after Democrat Stacey Abrams was defeated in her race to become Georgia's governor with national Democratic support. Despite help from notable Democrats like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif), Barrow couldn't pull off the upset.
The race took on added significance in the aftermath of widespread progressive complaints that Kemp's victory over Abrams was tainted by voter suppression, although such accusations weren't borne out by evidence.
Harris tweeted her support for Barrow, promising he would "protect the integrity of Georgia's elections." Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) did as well.
Georgia: the midterms aren’t over yet. Today is the runoff for Georgia Secretary of State and @Barrow4Georgia has a real shot at winning. Be sure to head to the polls and remind everyone you know to elect John, a true leader that will protect the integrity of Georgia’s elections.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 4, 2018
Georgia voters, please make your voice heard today in the critical election for Georgia Secretary of State. I hope you'll get out & vote for @Barrow4Georgia who will fight to ensure fair elections & protect your right to vote. Find your polling location: https://t.co/KWtBeqmYlH
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 4, 2018
Warren promised that if you voted for Barrow, he would make it easier for Georgians to vote.
Hello, Georgia! Today is the runoff election for Georgia’s Secretary of State, & I hope you’ll go out & vote for John @Barrow4Georgia. John will fight to make it as easy as possible for everyone in Georgia to vote. Check your polling precinct & hours here: https://t.co/pRdSsd0437
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) December 4, 2018
Harris, Booker, and Warren have all been floated as potential 2020 contenders for the Democratic nomination.
Abrams, who has recently indicated she may run for another office, condemned Kemp's time as secretary of state in her defeat, saying, "Brian Kemp oversaw for eight years the systematic and systemic dismantling of our democracy, and that means there could not be free and fair elections in Georgia this year."
But, as the Free Beacon previously reported, voter registration and turnout increased under Kemp:
Not only has overall voter registration increased by 20 percent since Kemp took office as Georgia’s secretary of state, but final tabulations indicate turnout in 2018 dwarfed previous midterm elections.
Raffensperger received an endorsement from President Donald Trump, who tweeted "Brad Raffensperger will be a fantastic Secretary of State for Georgia – will work closely with
@BrianKempGA. It is really important that you get out and vote for Brad-early voting starts today, election is on December 4th. @VoteBradRaff is tough on Crime and Borders, Loves our Military and Vets. He will be great for jobs!"
Brad Raffensperger will be a fantastic Secretary of State for Georgia – will work closely with @BrianKempGA. It is really important that you get out and vote for Brad – early voting….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2018