Election-year politics tops Georgia headlines in 2022

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by Dave Williams | Capitol Beat News Service


ATLANTA — With the coronavirus pandemic at last under control, election-year politics dominated Georgia this year. Voters reelected a Republican governor and a Democratic U.S. senator in a wave of ticket-splitting that drew national attention. Here’s a look at the top Georgia stories of 2022:

January 7 – The father-and-son murderers of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick in 2020 are sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The case led the General Assembly to pass a hate-crimes bill and overhaul Georgia’s 19th-century citizens arrest law.

January 10 – The Georgia Bulldogs win college football’s national championship, defeating the University of Alabama 33-18 in Indianapolis.

March 1 – The University System of Georgia Board of Regents votes to hire former two-term Gov. Sonny Perdue to become the system’s 14th chancellor. Perdue takes up the post in April.

April 4 – The Republican-controlled General Assembly completes the 2022 legislative session, highlighted by the passage of bills overhauling the delivery of mental-health services in Georgia, allowing Georgians to carry concealed firearms without a permit and cutting state income taxes by $1 billion.

May 20 – Hyundai Motor Group announces plans to build an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Bryan Couty near Savannah. Expected to create 8,100 jobs, it’s the largest economic development project in Georgia history.

May 24 – Gov. Brian Kemp trounces former U.S. Sen. David Perdue by 50 points in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Democrat Stacey Abrams wins her party’s nomination for governor unopposed.

July 20 – The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The General Assembly passed the law in 2019, but it didn’t take effect until the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Sept. 26 – The state signs an agreement with water supply systems in Gwinnett, Hall, and Forsyth counties guaranteeing water from Lake Lanier through 2050. The deal closes the chapter on a major portion of the tri-state “water wars” between, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama dating back to the 1990s.

November 8 – Republican Gov. Brian Kemp wins a second term, defeating Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams. Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock lands in a runoff with GOP challenger Herschel Walker.

November 16 – Georgia House Speaker David Ralston dies at age 68 after an extended illness. Two days earlier, the House Republican Caucus had nominated House Majority Leader Jon Burns, R-Newington, to succeed the ailing Ralston as speaker.

December 6 – Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock wins a full six-year term in the Senate after completing the late Sen. Johnny Isakson’s unexpired term. Warnock defeats Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff.

[This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.]