Taylor Bennett’s victory over J. Max Davis in the House District 80 runoff could have several ramifications in the Georgia General Assembly.
Bennett, a Democrat, defeated Davis in Tuesday’s runoff, winning the seat formerly held by Mike Jacobs, now a DeKalb state court judge.
Bennett’s win is a big one for Georgia Democrats, who now have control of the Fulton County House delegation. Fulton Democrats want to roll back some recent measures taken by the General Assembly to limit the size of the county’s government.
Bennett also came in first in the special election last month, while Davis — who arguably had the campaign’s highest political profile — came in second.
Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Rep. Tom Price campaigned for Davis, while Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other Democrats — including former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter — supported Bennett. Davis also raised twice as money as Bennett.
Davis’ fellow Republican Catherine Bernard, who finished a close third in last month’s race, refused to endorse him in the runoff. As results became final Tuesday night, social media was rife with speculation that Bernard’s lack of support was a factor in Davis’ defeat.
For a while, Davis was the public face of Brookhaven. He was a leader in the BrookhavenYES movement and became the city’s first mayor. He resigned as mayor to run for the seat held by his father for more than two decades.
But he also carried some political baggage, from a controversial municipal campaign to close Brookhaven’s Pink Pony to a war with neighboring Chamblee over annexation. Most recently he faced an embarrassing charge of sexual harassment from a Brookhaven employee.
In the end, all of that that baggage was too much to overcome in a campaign for an important House seat.