Seven candidates started out the race, but only two will take it to the finish line.
Republican Senate hopefuls David Perdue and Jack Kingston will face off again in the July runoff when voters will choose which GOP candidate will represent them in the general election.
Polls showed Perdue as the obvious front-runner, but with so many candidates, the political newcomer called Tuesday’s race just “the pre-season.”
“With seven candidates in the race, I can do the math. You can too,” said Perdue, who with more than 97 percent of votes reported had won 30.56 percent of the vote.
Kingston’s advancement proved more surprising. Some believed former Secretary of State Karen Handel would surge to second place as ballots trickled in from metro Atlanta. The Congressman, however, was able to maintain a lead, drawing nearly 26 percent of the total votes cast. Handel had about 22 percent.
“We will be focusing on the metro area and with the pie not having to be split seven ways, I think we’re going to do a lot better,” said Kingston of his performance in Atlanta.
Kingston never really stopped campaigning Tuesday night. He made a point of distancing himself from David Perdue, saying his opponent is not conservative enough to win in a head-to-head race.
“What we wanted to do is be in second place. We believe that we can get all the conservatives together and that I will be the conservative candidate of choice, because my opponent is a moderate.”
Perdue claimed that type of name-calling is nothing but politics as usual.
“I tried to build a brand in this entire race. That was our campaign strategy. I’m an outsider. I’m not a politician and we tried to establish the reality that we were going to provide the voters an alternative and we tried to stay true to that, even in these last few weeks when we got a lot of false accusations and so forth that were really hurtful and really untrue,” Perdue said.
“But, you know, people in this state have seen this before from career politicians. They’ve come to expect that and I think that’s one reason why we’re resonating so well with them.”