The District 39 seat in the Georgia State Senate is up for election in a special Democratic primary runoff on December 1. The primary election took place on November 3, and the top two vote recipients—Sonya Halpern and Linda Pritchett—advanced to the runoff.
The special election became necessary after incumbent Nikema Williams (D) withdrew from the regularly scheduled election after advancing from the Democratic primary. Williams withdrew her bid for re-election after she was chosen by the Democratic Party of Georgia to replace incumbent candidate John Lewis (D) on the general election ballot for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District race after Lewis’ death on July 17, 2020. Since no Republican or third-party candidates filed for the seat, the winner of the Democratic primary runoff will replace Williams.
Georgia has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 35-21 margin and the state House by a 105-74 margin with one vacancy.
As of November, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 27 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.