Venturing into the sacred Georgia Political territory owned and trademarked by The Georgia Gang, there’s a bit of news in local DeKalb County politics. No, not this corruption trial. It’s the special election to replace Elaine Boyer, who resigned and then pled guilty to Federal charges (rather than bet on a hung jury).
Of interest in this race is that there was no primary, but it will be decided on a general election ballot. For those who have suggested Georgia move to a “jungle primary” system similar to Louisiana, here’s a model of how that might work.
The point here is this: This has traditionally been looked at as a “Republican” commission seat. It’s pretty much been “the” Republican commission seat. And yet, every DeKalb voter residing in the district has an open chance to pick between the five candidates who have offered themselves for service. They can even pick this guy.
Much of the buzz on this race has been centered around professional candidate Nancy Jester. She, after all, is close with quite a few social media types that have been pushing her candidacy hard. Her main opposition is Wendy Butler, herself close to at least one DeKalb social media titan (our Deputy Editor Mike Hassinger is her Campaign Consultant). Butler hasn’t been the social media darling Jester has, but has the advantage of having worked with a lot of different folks in official capacities. We’ll cut to CL’s endorsement for those details:
Butler, until recently, served in leadership positions with MARTA, State Road and Tollway Authority, and the DeKalb Planning Commission. She also played an important role in incorporating Brookhaven and could bring insight to the county’s cityhood debate, though we imagine on which side she’d fall.
She’s got a resume that demonstrates a wide body of knowledge that would be useful for a Commissioner. She’s also got a political network of folks that formerly supported Boyer. Attempts to smear Butler with Boyer’s issues may be backfiring, as there are a lot of influential folks that supported Boyer that resent the guilt by association tactic. They see themselves in those remarks.
Why all that to talk about a Creative Loafing endorsement (i.e, the Atlanta Intown Democratic endorsement)? Go back to the fact that this is essentially a jungle primary. Butler will have a significant portion of the GOP vote, possibly a plurality. Adding a significant chunk of voters that may not want to vote for a Republican but can choose the “best” candidate in an open election makes this endorsement relevant.
We’ll see what the round table says about it Sunday, but from this non-DeKalb metro-Atlantan, it appears that Butler is assembling a coalition that can move her into the next round, if not take a victory outright on November 4th.