Republican attorney general Chris Carr secured his first election victory and a full four-year term on Tuesday, narrowly defeating Democrat Charlie Bailey.
Carr garnered 51.42 percent of the vote to Bailey’s 48.58 percent, a difference of nearly 110,000 votes out of about 3.8 million cast, according to the website of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, updated at 1:33 p.m. Wednesday.
In an interview late Wednesday morning, Carr declined to comment on the margin, stating simply, “I cannot be more honored to receive the support of nearly two million Georgians. I am so appreciative of that, don’t take that lightly and look forward to earning the trust of all of our state citizens.”
For his part, Bailey said he was pleased with the strong Democratic showing and coming within just a few percentage points of his opponent.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done in 8.5 months,” he said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.
He added: “This was a historic election in Georgia, and [Carr] is credited with winning a tough race.”
In 2016, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Carr AG after Sam Olens resigned. Carr was previously Deal’s commissioner of economic development and chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia.
Carr’s lack of criminal justice litigation experience prior to 2016 was a main point of attack on the part of Bailey, the former senior prosecutor with the Fulton County district attorney’s gang unit who said that, if elected, he would form an organized crime division and gang division to coordinate law enforcement efforts statewide.
“We made the race about what we said was important and because there needed to be action on those things,” Bailey said of matters such as organized crime, gang violence and the opioid crisis. “And the fact that the race turned out to be about those things shows that that was what Georgia wanted.”
Carr said that, going forward, his office will continue to concentrate its efforts in the areas of human trafficking, cybercrime, opioid abuse, criminal gang activities and the protection of older and at-risk adults. It also, he added, will examine “the other issues in which our office can play a coordination role, policy role, legal role and educational role to protect the interests of the people of our state.”
Bailey said he is not sure yet where he will end up but added that “whatever I end up doing, it will be a role where I’m going to do my best to protect people and get them justice.”