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.