Georgia nominated its first black candidate ever to the U.S. Senate when first-term Rep. Denise Majette crushed a millionaire businessman to win a Democratic runoff for the seat being vacated by retiring Georgia Sen. Zell Miller.
Majette will be a heavy underdog against GOP Rep. Johnny Isakson in a state that has tilted Republican in recent years. Majette would make more history if she prevails in the fall: There have only been two black senators since Reconstruction.
Majette, 49, easily defeated the well-heeled Cliff Oxford, a 40-year-old technology company founder who was recruited to run by former President Carter.
Majette is a former judge who won national attention two years ago by ousting firebrand Rep. Cynthia McKinney.
Her run against Isakson will prove a stern test. Isakson, a veteran Georgia politician who replaced House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Congress, defeated two rivals to win the GOP nomination outright.
Majette's one-time rival McKinney is hoping to take back her old seat. She beat five other Democrats in the primary. McKinney takes on Republican Catherine Davis in November.
Miller had been retired from public life in the summer of 2000 when he was appointed to fill the Senate vacancy created by the death of Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell. Miller won a special election in November of that year to fill the remaining years of Coverdell's term.
GOP Rep. Mac Collins lost to Isakson in the primary, so his seat is open now too
Georgia's 12th Congressional District will be one of the key races to watch this year. Freshman GOP Rep. Max Burns is a top Democratic target, even though George W. Bush won the district in 2000. Democrats chose John Barrow as their candidate in July.
In the 2002 elections, Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss unseated Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a popular war veteran criticized as too liberal for Georgia to become the state's newest Senator.
Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, a former Democrat given little chance against Gov. Roy Barnes, shocked the state with an easy victory, breaking the Democrats' 130-year hold on the governor's mansion.
In the 11th House district, Republican Phil Gingrey won in a district that Congressman Bob Barr had abandoned after it was redrawn to favor a Democrat. Instead, Barr ran against fellow Republican Rep. John Linder and lost in the primary.
Democrat Charles "Champ" Walker Jr. was upset by Republican Max Burns in a congressional race. His father, state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker Sr., lost his close race for re-election. Burns now finds himself a top Democratic target.
Economically, Georgia is seeing signs of improvement after two straight years of sagging revenues. For the first time since 2000, the state has gained jobs.