Georgia’s incumbent insurance commissioner easily survived a Republican primary challenge from a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump. The Democratic candidate will be decided by a runoff.
Commissioner John King was appointed to the role in 2019 by Gov. Brian Kemp after the previous commissioner was indicted and later convicted of fraud charges. But Trump, who split with Kemp over Kemp’s refusal to go along with Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was rigged, had backed Patrick Witt for the insurance commissioner post.
Witt, who briefly worked as Trump’s chief of staff at the federal Office of Personnel Management, won just 17% of the vote Tuesday. King sewed up more than 70% of the primary ballots cast, or 776,459, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s election results.
King, a former police chief, has said he will continue to restore Georgians’ confidence in the office, after the scandals that hit two former commissioners.
In the November general election, King, the first Hispanic statewide official in Georgia, will face one of two people trying to become the first black insurance commissioner in the state.
Janice Laws Robinson, who came within a few percentage points of victory in 2018, faces Raphael Baker in the runoff. Robinson won 48.7% of the Democratic vote in the Tuesday primary, about 323,278 votes, and Baker won 33%.
State Rep. Matthew Wilson came in third with 18% of the vote.
While the Republican field had been criticized by some for having little experience in the insurance business, both Robinson and Baker have said they have years in the industry. Robinson has managed her own brokerage and insurance agency since 2014. Baker said he has been in the business for almost two decades, owned an agency for six years, and is now in a sales and leadership spot with a national carrier.
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