By Curt Yeomans
Duluth-based state Sen. David Shafer held a commanding lead in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor Tuesday, but it wasn’t quite enough to avoid a runoff.
With 85 percent of precincts across the state counted at 11 p.m., Shafer had received 48.74 percent of the vote — just under the 50 percent plus one threshold to win the race outright. The race to face him in the July 24 runoff, however, was neck and neck between former state Rep. Geoff Duncan and former state Sen. Rick Jeffares.
Duncan narrowly led Jeffares by a margin of 26.18 percent to 25.1 percent as of 11 p.m.
The winner of the Republican race will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico, who beat Triana Arnold James 54.86 percent to 45.14 percent.
During his election night party at Madcaps in downtown Duluth, Shafer had anticipated the Republican primary race might run a little longer, telling supporters early in the night that it appeared headed toward a runoff.
“We’re very encouraged by the early returns,” Shafer told the Daily Post just after 8 p.m. “We’re showing strength in every part of Georgia.”