May 21, 2024 - Politics

Willis, McAfee, McBath and Scott face challengers in Georgia's May 21 primary election

Animated illustration of the state of Georgia rotating to reveal a checkmark over a divided red and blue background with elements of ballots.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The 2024 primary election is finally here, so let's highlight some key races we're watching as voters head to the polls Tuesday.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the prosecutor handling former President Donald Trump's election interference case, and Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the judge overseeing the trial, both face primary challengers.

Why it matters: A loss by Willis could delay or derail the sprawling case the prosecutor has mounted against Trump and his alleged co-conspirators.

Zoom in: Willis, who in her first term in office has launched high-profile cases against Trump, as well as rapper Young Thug, faces a challenge from Christian Wise Smith, a former Fulton prosecutor and unsuccessful 2022 Georgia attorney general candidate.

  • The winner of the primary will take on Courtney Kramer, the only Republican candidate for district attorney to qualify, in the Nov. 5 general election.

Zoom out: McAfee, a former state inspector general appointed to the bench by Gov. Brian Kemp in December 2022, faces defense attorney Tiffani Johnson and civil rights attorney Robert Patillo.

  • Judges run on a nonpartisan ticket.

6th Congressional District

Democratic primary voters in the new 6th Congressional District will vote in a three-person race featuring U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, Cobb Commissioner Jerica Richardson and State Rep. Mandisha Thomas.

Why it matters: The 6th was redrawn late last year as a majority-Black district after a federal judge ruled the previous boundaries violated the Voting Rights Act.

Catch up quick: McBath was first elected to the 6th Congressional District in 2018 and re-elected in 2020.

  • In 2022, the 6th was redrawn into a more Republican-leaning district.
  • McBath then ran for — and won — the 7th Congressional District race.

Richardson, who represents District 2 on the Cobb commission, was first elected in 2020.

Thomas was first elected in 2020 to state house District 65, which includes parts of south Fulton, Douglas and Coweta counties.

What we're watching: A three-way race brings the potential for a runoff election if a candidate doesn't receive more than 50% of the vote. The Democrat who wins the primary will face Jeff Criswell, the only Republican to qualify for the seat, in the Nov. 5 general election.

13th Congressional District

Longtime U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) faces several Democratic challengers running to represent residents in the redrawn 13th Congressional District this year.

Scott is seeking his 12th term in Congress in a district that stretches east from Clayton, northern Henry, Rockdale, Newton and Gwinnett counties.

What we're watching: The crowded primary could help Scott if his rivals peel off votes from each other. He needs more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.


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