UPDATE: Icarus and I have a little dispute about the particular law referenced here and whether or not it allows for an independent candidate to qualify before a special primary is called. Her majesty Karen Handel didn’t think so: when Joe Carter backed out in 2008, Karen Handel issued her proclamation of special primary on June 25th. By my reading of the calendar, independent qualifying didn’t end that year until June 27th (three Friday’s before the primary election). So when it happened to a Republican, they didn’t wait to make sure no independents qualified, they immediately sough action to remedy the potential problem of having an election with no candidates. So either Karen Handel was playing fast and loose with the law or Brian Kemp is. /
Payback’s a bitch, and for once in this state it’s the Democrats turn.
A little refresher course. In 2008, Sen. Joe Carter (SD – 13) was the only candidate to qualify for re-election to the state Senate in either party. About 2 months later, a position for Superior Court judge became available and Sen. Carter decided to withdraw/resign and throw his hat into that ring.
What did Sec. Karen Handel’s office decide? They decided to re-open qualifying for Republicans ONLY. According to her Press release:
“The Special Primary for the Republican nomination will be held on Tuesday, August 5, 2008. Since no Democratic candidate qualified for Senate District 13, there was no Democratic primary for this seat. Accordingly, the Special Primary will be held only for the Republican nomination as provided for in the law.”
Now, let me go on record as saying this is a terrible way to do things, and Democrats were opposed in 2008. What it allows is for a popular incumbent like Levitas (or Joe Carter before him) to sign up for one more time, not get any opposition from the other side in a swing seat, and then step out once qualifying closes to allow only his party to nominate a new guy. The legislature should change the law on this so that in the future popular incumbents in swing seats or safe seats can’t handpick (or let the party) their successor.
But to my friends in the party that likes to remind people “rule of law”, the law is the law and Secretary Kemp needs to do the right thing and follow the tradition that his predecessor charted.