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Best’s News & Research Service - May 25, 2022 11:33 AM (EDT)

King Wins Georgia GOP Insurance Commissioner Race; Two Dems Headed to Runoff

ATLANTA //BestWire// - Incumbent Georgia Insurance Commissioner John King cruised to an easy Republican primary victory May 24, while two of three Democrats seeking the seat will head to a runoff.

John King

John King

With about 95% of the votes counted, King had captured 770,998 votes, or 70.6% of all ballots cast, according to the Georgia Department of State.

He finished well ahead of Patrick Witt, who received 182,986 votes and Ben Cowart, who picked up 138,542, it said.

King, the appointed commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire, is seeking his first full term. He was appointed interim commissioner in 2019 after then-Commissioner Jim Beck was charged in a multimillion-dollar fraud case. Gov. Brian Kemp removed King’s interim title in 2021.

King touted his personal history as a Mexican-American who has served as a police officer in the Atlanta and Doraville police departments. He also has served as a major general in the U.S. Army National Guard, leading the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and has deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to his campaign website.

He pledged to restore trust in the department, eliminate corruption and advance policies that put consumers ahead of special interests (BestWire, May 20, 2022).

On the Democratic side, Janice Laws Robinson came up just short of capturing the nomination with 318,360 votes or 48.7%, department data showed.

According to a department spokesman, candidates must receive a majority of votes cast to win the nomination. Trailing Robinson was Raphael Baker, who captured 216,398 votes, or 33.11%.

Baker and Robinson, who both have professional experience in the insurance industry, will tangle again in a runoff June 21.

Finishing third was state Rep. Matthew Wilson. He received 118,769 votes, or 18.17%.

Robinson, who lost the 2018 race to Beck, said on her campaign website that her first priority would be to cut automobile insurance rates by pushing the General Assembly to “cap rate increases and stop predatory underwriting practices.”

Robinson also pledged to put forward a communications framework and establish regional offices to serve consumer needs and improve consumer education. Town halls and educational events also would be part of that strategy, according to her web site.

Baker said Georgia’s biggest insurance issue is equity in insurance rates. He said he supports removing race and gender as underwriting factors in property/casualty insurance.

Baker also called for reduced auto insurance rates and is advocating for expanding Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.

(By Timothy Darragh, associate editor, BestWeek:

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