A Key Endorsement for Belinfante In GA Senate District 6

Georgia Senate District 6 will likely be the battleground for Georgia General Assembly races this November.  Under new maps, Cobb County Democratic Senator Doug Stoner, chairman of the Senate’s Democratic Caucus, is now running in a new district that leans heavily into Fulton County – Buckhead to be more specific – and leans decidedly Republican.  The mix of well heeled constituents combined with the matchup being one of the only expected competitive general election matchups has many predicting it may be the most expensive race in the history of the Georgia legislature.

Before the general election, a primary must be held on the Republican side.  Three challengers are competing to take on Stoner in the general election.  Hunter Hill, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, may have had an early lead in the race having run once before.  Name ID and old volunteer lists do help.  Drew Ellenberg is running on a platform of being a small businessman, having run a furniture manufacturing business in Cobb County.  Josh Belinfante is an Attorney who is a former high school teacher, and has served as Vice-Chairman of the Georgia Ethics Commission.

Each of the three is battling for new territory and introducing themselves to new constituencies.  Based on casual observations it looks like Hill is winning the “sign wars” in Fulton, while Belinfante seems to have Cobb covered.  Ellenberg has enough that he appears to be in contention.

Belinfante added to his Cobb organization today with an endorsement from Sheriff Neil Warren.  In Georgia, a sheriff is often able to transcend typical grassroots organizations.  In smaller counties, the Sheriff’s endorsement is often akin to a coronation.  In larger counties such as Cobb, it’s more of an indicator of where a significant block of non-partisan grass roots voters are likely to head.  Think deputies, county clerks, and the like. 

Warren said in a statement “Josh is the best candidate for the job. I know Josh personally and we need his leadership and expertise at the State Capitol for a strong and safe Cobb County. Please join me in supporting Josh for State Senate.”

The key to a July 31st primary is mobilizing a relatively small number of voters. County workers tend to vote in primaries, and many take a tip from the Sheriff when looking at races for those whom they don’t see every day.  As such, Warren’s endorsement should give a big boost to Belinfante for the west side of the district.

The reality of a three person race is that there will likely be a runoff.  Which makes this race more expensive.  Campaign finance reports are due next week.  At that time we may have some dollars raised and spent to help quantify where this race stands.

13 comments

  1. CobbGOPer says:

    Not to crap on the race, but who really cares who gets to represent Tyler Perry, Governor Deal, and the other richest people in the state, in the Senate?

    That is, unless they have ideas for constructing better arteries into Buckhead through the rich neighborhoods on the river. I think they intentionally keep West Paces Ferry Road looking like it’s straight out of Baghdad to try to discourage drivers from going that way during rush hour. And it never works. Just makes the road that much worse.

    • Lawton Sack says:

      Do you also realize that they get a vote, just like my Senator and your Senator? They may not represent me directly and I cannot vote for or against them, but their vote still has an impact on my life. Therefore, I care.

    • Simeon Barsabae says:

      So let me get this right…

      A. You don’t care about who will be representing the people who own and run the businesses that are working to bring jobs to Georgians?

      B. You don’t care about who will be representing a large portion of Cobb that has been growing both economically and culturally in the last decade?

      C. You don’t care that we have two (not a typo) viable Republican candidates that have a good chance of unseating a well know Democrat Senator who happens to be the Chair of the Senate Democrat Caucus?

      Please explain to me why you actually posted a comment as opposed to staying quite and not sounding like someone who has diaper rash.

      • CobbGOPer says:

        I’m saying if they plan on doing something about West Paces Ferry Road into Buckhead, then I’ll care. 😉

  2. Not to rain on your parade, but we may have different definitions of “decidedly”. Obama got 48% here. Of course, the Republicans in the General Assembly don’t know that since they don’t know how to allocate the “decidedly” Democratic leaning early vote from 2008.

    Yeah, I know that the district was more Republican in 2010, but just remember, while Buckhead stays the same, Cobb and Sandy Springs get more Democratically demographically with every new lease signed and home purchased.

  3. William Ray says:

    When talking about one of the most expensive races in Georgia Senate History, don’t forget the Renee Unterman-Joyce Stevens race in 2002. I think it had somewhere around 1.3 million thrown around.

    • Charlie says:

      That one will remain forever in Georgia political lore, and may well remain the most expensive after this one is done. It will likely be the most expensive primary, as the million + spent was all on the Republican side.

      For a job that pays $17,000 per year.

      • Lawton Sack says:

        I know that there are First Amendment ramifications to be considered, but I wonder if a spending /in-kind contribution cap would be a reasonable consideration. It is extremely difficult to compete against the financial resources an incumbent has at his/her discretion for spending on a campaign, thus many decide not to challenge them.

        • benevolus says:

          Just use Ranked Choice Voting and people can vote their conscience without fear of wasting their vote.

  4. James Fannin says:

    I support Josh and while both Hunter Hill and Drew Ellenberg would represent the district well, Josh may be one of the best candidates I have ever met and I have no doubt he will be a great Senator. His years of service as a counsel on Governor Perdue’s staff have given him keen insight into the major issues and in every debate I have seen him in with the other two candidates, he has dominated but not in an unfriendly way.

    As for the Sheriff’s endorsement, I can’t think of a less meaningful endorsement. Honestly has anyone ever thought as they stepped up to the voting booth, “gosh I wonder who the Sheriff supports?” I’m sure Josh would rather have the endorsement than not but seriously, who cares?

    • I’d also like to point out that we are constantly being told that we’re electing people with “keen insight into the major issues” and yet we’re constantly looking for the next class of people who have this keen insight to fix things that are still wrong.

      Also – I can’t imagine that you’d say the problem with this state after 8 years of Republican rule is that the Republicans can’t get things done without veto-proof majorities. Raise your hand, please be honest, if you think giving the Republicans veto-proof majorities, even if it is someone with “keen insight” is better than preserving a check on the balance of power.

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