Category: Legislative Races

It’s UGA vs. Tech in Brookhaven

Former Tech QB Taylor Bennett will meet Republican J. Max Davis — a former offensive lineman at UGA — in a runoff for House District 80.

The Brookhaven Post is reporting that the two will meet in an August 11th runoff for the seat vacated by Republican Mike Jacobs, now a DeKalb state court judge.

Republicans Catherine Bernard and Loren Collins came in third and fourth, respectively, in Tuesday’s special election. 

Analysis

Bennett — whose campaign visibility throughout the district was dwarfed by Davis and Bernard — was surprisingly the top vote-getter on Tuesday, with 36 percent. Davis came in second, with 33 percent.

Bennett’s campaign seemingly came on strong in the final days before the election, as the Democrat received endorsements from such organizations as the Sierra Club, Georgia Association of Educators, Planned Parenthood and even former state senator Jason Carter.

Davis, Brookhaven’s first-ever mayor and arguably the highest profile candidate in the election, also had a hefty list of endorsements, most notably from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and local political heavyweights such as state Sen. Fran Millar, Rep. Tom Taylor and three of the four members of the Brookhaven City Council.

Any contest fielding four candidates is most likely bound for a runoff, but Bennett’s first-place showing has to be considered somewhat of a political shock, given the district’s strong GOP leanings, along with some of its neighboring communities.

Another factor contributing to Davis’ second-place showing could be residual damage resulting from some unflattering charges made against him during the campaign, dating back to his tenure while mayor of Brookhaven.

In any event, if Bennett defeats Davis on August 11, it could signal a dramatic, political changing of the guard in an important metro Atlanta house district.

Jason Carter Steps into HD80 Race

Former gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter has written an op-ed in support of Democrat Taylor Bennett in the House District 80 race.

Carter’s op-ed Emphasises Bennett’s ability to reach across the aisle to make progress not only for Brookhaven, but for Georgia:

So long as there are schools that struggle, citizens without access to healthcare, and hard-working Georgians without jobs, our state’s leaders should put that partisanship and bickering aside. These challenges will require us to seek out a better form of representative government that is built on transparency, accountability, and cooperation. Most importantly they will require elected officials and civic leaders who are committed not to ideology or politics, but to a shared vision of a better Georgia we can all call home.

Taylor is that kind of leader for House District 80. As a former Georgia Tech quarterback, Taylor knows what leadership and teamwork require. As an attorney, Taylor has done the hard work it takes to achieve justice. And as an active member of his community, Taylor has already proven he is the right kind of person to bring people together to tackle the challenges we face in educating all of our children, in building our economy responsibly, and in pursuing equality for each and every Georgian.

Prognosticators talk about the two leading candidates in the GOP leaning district, Republicans J. Max Davis and Catherine Bernard, with Bennett and GOP candidate Loren Collins receiving less attention. With the former state senator and gubernatorial candidate willing to put is name out, does this mean that the race is more competitive than it originally appeared?

Read Senator Carter’s entire endorsement here.

Two Candidates in HD55 Runoff: Zero Campaign Disclosures

The candidates in the runoff to replace Tyrone Brooks are Shelitha Robertson and Marie Robinson-Metze.

Both candidates have seemingly failed to complete their basic campaign disclosure report.

Knowing that the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission can sometimes be a bit slow posting documents, Peach Pundit reached out the commission on Wednesday asking for a status on the reports. In an email, a staff attorney said: “The Commission does not have record of Metze Or Robertson filing Campaign Contribution Disclosure Reports for the HD55 special election.”

PP contacted Robertson via her campaign website and Facebook campaign (no email was immediately available) asking if she had in fact filed and if it would be possible to obtain a copy of her disclosure. Robertson did not respond to any requests.

For her part, Robinson-Metze sent an email after the commission responded to PP‘s inquiry saying  “My Campaign Contribution Disclosure report has been filed with the Campaign Finance Commission.” However, as of Thursday there is no indication on the GGTCFC website that she has. In a follow-up email and in the initial inquiry to Robinson-Metze, PP also asked if it was possible for her to supply PP with a copy of the report. Both requests were not acknowledged.

One possible explanation for Robinson-Metze’s recalcitrance is she said she is “dealing with family issues in Charleston.”

A Primary for Fran Millar?

We understand that District 40 Senator Fran Millar of Dunwoody will be challenged in the 2016 Republican Primary by Paul Maner, who could announce his candidacy a week from today. Last month, Maner sent out this tweet, which he later deleted from his Twitter account:

Paul Maner Tweet

Maner is a Financial Advisor with National Financial Services Group. His bio on the company’s website includes this:

Paul describes his priorities as God, family, work. He has been married to his best friend, Paula, since 1983. They have a son and daughter-in-law (married by Paul) who serve in the Army as Combat Medics. They live in Spokane, WA and have two boys. Paul’s hobby is competitive shooting. He is a member of the IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) and competes once a month at local matches. His favorite hobby is Friday date night with his wife.

Paul tries to live by the motto “You get out of life, what you contribute to it.” He strives to always remember what we’re doing here on earth, which is giving to and serving others.

We are told Maner is prepared to invest some money into his candidacy. Whether he will win against the long-serving Millar, who was sworn into the Georgia House in 1999 and the State Senate in 2011 is another question.

::UPDATE:: Fannin County Attorney Says Stewart Is Making False Claims–Stewart Refutes County Attorney’s Claim

I received an email from Lynn Dillard-Doss, County Attorney of Fannin County, with a press release from her citing that employment claims made by state Kelly Stewart, who is facing Brad Raffensperger in a February 3rd run-off to fill the vacancy in House District 50 left by Lynn Riley after she was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to be his new revenue commissioner, are not true.

In the email, Doss stated that she was county attorney at the time and that Kelly Stewart, neé Mull, was a secretary (administrative assistant) for the Fannin County Board of Commissioners and not a county administrator as she claims in an interview by County Line magazine and on her Johns Creek City Council biography (links provided by Ms. Dillard-Doss in the press release).

According to the press release, a “pattern of deceit” was a major factor that lead to Stewart’s termination in 1999 according to Mrs. Yvonne McNelley who served as a Fannin County Commissioner at that time. Commissioner McNelley went further to say in the presser:

“We ended Stewart’s employment because of this issue as well as the fact that she had a pattern of abusing taxpayer dollars, including using taxpayer funds to make purchases that were clearly personal in nature,” said Commissioner McNelley.

“We investigated Kelly Stewart’s abuse of taxpayer dollars and found that she had made multiple unauthorized expenditures for personal items included self-help videos, unauthorized expensive meals, and gift purchases,” said Commissioner McNelley.

The actions of Stewart ultimately lead to the recall and eventual removal of then-Commission Chairman Cline Bowers according to McNelley.

The voters will elect the person who will best represent them, but Fannin County, through their county attorney, issued the press release to rebuke Ms. Stewart’s claims of her position within the Fannin County government.

::UPDATE::

We received a response from Ms. Stewart’s campaign rebutting the rebut from Fannin County Attorney Lynn Dillard-Doss regarding her employment with Fannin County:

Friends,

This may top them all.

You never know what your opponent will say in a campaign, but today’s allegations from the Raffensperger campaign were so outlandish they actually made me laugh out loud when I read them.

Their newest line: Kelly Stewart embellished her resume and never served as a county administrator.

Considering the massive amount of documents to the contrary, you have to be pretty bold — or pretty desperate — to make such a claim.

Maybe he thought no one would question him?

That said, claims like this, if unanswered, tend to fester and I thought it best to make sure you heard from me first.

I’d love for you to watch this short video message from me by clicking here.

In it, I address my role as a County Administrator. Documented in newspaper headlines, dozens of county documents and even an old Georgia City-County Management Association Membership Directory that I found.

It is clear my opponent is chasing unicorns, hoping for a fairy tale ending to his nightmarish personal, professional, and political problems.

Regardless all of the reams of documents that clearly discredit this baseless nonsense, you have even more convincing evidence I am telling the truth.

My word.

Unlike my opponent, when I say something, I mean it.

Unfortunately for Johns Creek, the only person not being honest in this race is Brad Raffensperger.

To date, he has yet to produce any documents that prove he has paid his 30 plus legal judgments, lawsuits, and tax liens.

You have my word that I will continue being honest with you by giving you the straight talk.

Please call me on my cell phone with any questions [cell number redacted]

Kelly Stewart

I’ll note that I mentioned earlier in the post that the email I received was directly from the county attorney’s email address and not through Mr. Raffensperger’s campaign. However, here are both sides for those who live in House District 50 as well as outside observers.

New Group Sends Out Mailers Against Sam Moore, For Meagan Biello

We were sent images a couple of mail pieces by a reader one juicy attack piece against Representative Sam Moore and in support of Meagan Biello. The mailers were sent out by The Georgia Coalition for Job Creation and was formed in early April according to the Secretary of State’s office. Are folks close to Speaker Ralston driving this organization, or could be some independent folks who are concerned about a representative who would rather destroy his colleagues to make a point rather than working to make substantive changes for Georgians? We’re not sure, but maybe we’ll find out after the primary. We’ll for sure find out how successful they are on May 20th.

Feel free to make your own speculations in the comments.

Deal Gets NRA Seal of Approval

The NRA – arguably the nation’s most influential and effective single-interest organization – has released its scorecard for the upcoming Georgia primaries.

Gov. Nathan Deal received an A+ from the NRA, while his primary opponents, John Barge and David Pennington, received a question mark.

The NRA also released its list of endorsements for state House and state Senate races.

 

Fincher Gets Some Muscle For House District 97 Race

Jef Fincher, one of the two candidates running against incumbent House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman in the Republican Primary, has gotten some pretty big muscle in the District 97 race: Herman Cain will be a special guest at a meet-and-greet for the benefit of Fincher.

CainForFincher

Cain is still very popular among conservatives in Georgia. Will Cain’s presence draw in more voters for Mr. Fincher? I guess we’ll see at 7p on May 20th.

Familiar Brookhaven Democrat Back in Politics

Elena Parent is running for state Sen. Jason Carter’s District 42 seat.

Parent made the announcement on Monday.

Parent defeated Republican incumbent Jill Chambers in 2012 for the House District 81 seat. In 2012, Parent’s Brookhaven district was redrawn into a district represented by Scott Holcomb. Parent resigned her seat and then went to work as executive director of Georgia Watch.

Analysis: Like Holcomb, Parent is one of the Democratic Party’s brightest young stars. Republicans may have had that knowledge in mind when they combined Holcomb’s old district into Parent’s district when census-driven reapportionment came around.

It isn’t surprising to see Parent back in the political picture, and she has solid credentials in the private and public sector to back her candidacy (an attorney who worked for the powerhouse law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP; and a former chief of staff to then Sen. David Adelman, now the U.S. ambassador to Singapore).

Regardless of whether Carter is successful in his gubernatorial bid, the winner of his Senate seat is going to receive a lot of name recognition in the media.

Democrats would be smart not to field another candidate for this seat, as Parent, like Holcomb, is a future leader of the party.

Georgia Runoff Elections – Did Your Candidate Win?

9:09 PM Update:

Voters went to the polls today to decide who will be the winner of several runoff elections. In the General Assembly, for the Senate race in District 14, Bruce Thompson wins by a 69-31 percent margin over Matt Laughridge with all voted counted. In House District 104, Chuck Efstration defeated Teresa Cantrell by a 65-35 percent margin with all voted counted. And in House District 127, the final vote count shows Brian Prince won by a 56-44 percent margin over Diane Evans.

There are also some local runoffs. In Lawrenceville, Keith Roche defeated Larry Troutman for the city council seat vacated by P.K. Martin, and in Duluth, incumbents Marsha Bomar and Jim Dugan held their seats against challengers.

Post your local results in the comments.

The Political Domino Effect In Georgia’s 166th House District

So, since the senior US Senator, Saxby Chambliss, decided to retire from the US Senate, it has caused quite a domino effect throughout state politics. Congressman Jack Kingston jumps into the senate race, State Senator Buddy Carter jumped into the race to replace Congressman Kingston’s soon-to-be-vacated seat, State Representative Ben Watson is jumping into the fray to replace Senator Carter.

Now, we have about three folks looking to replace Representative Watson in House District 166 down in south Georgia:

Martin Sullivan who is set to announce on Thursday at 11a at Lake Mayer. From Facebook:

“I hope you will join me at Lake Mayer this Thursday at 11:00 am as I kick off my campaign for the Georgia State House District 166! It would be an honor to have all my friends and family join me at this big event! Hope to see you this Thursday at 11!”

Sullivan is the former political director for Gary Black’s campaign and a senior advisor to the Commissioner of Agriculture for Policy and Outreach at the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Carl Smith is the Southeast Regional Manager of CET Fire Pumps and the former fire chief for the Thunderbolt Fire Department. He was also the Republican Party chairman for Chatham County as well as a GOP contender for the GA-12 congressional seat in 2010. He was runner-up to Ray McKinney in a runoff after a four-person primary.

Jesse Petrea is currently backed by Representative Ron Stephens and has hired Dave Simons as his consultant. From the Savannah Morning News:

Petrea, who has never run for elective office, is the co-owner of Altrus Assisted Living Inc. and Coastal Home Care Inc. Those Savannah-based businesses, he said, employ more than 1,000 people and provide community-based services to more than 2,300 elderly, developmentally disabled and mentally ill.

“We do home care and assisted living, so we kind of have the entire spectrum for providing services for people who need care, want to remain in the community and avoid institutional placement,” Petrea said. “We provide care to people to make sure they can live where they want to live.”

So, “crowdsourcing” the punditry…will having the backing of Rep. Stephens help the political newbie Mr. Petrea? Will Mr. Smith have an advantage of having ran a congressional race and almost winning? Will Mr. Sullivan get the backing of the fairly popular Gary Black as well as appeal to the strong agriculture down there?

Special thanks to Lawton Sack for giving us the details about the 166th House District race.

Special Election For HD71 Set For 2/05/12

A special election to replace Robert Stokley, who resigned before being sworn in, has been set for Tuesday February 5th.

From an SoS press release:

Notice is hereby given that a special election shall be held in portions of Coweta and Fayette Counties to fill the vacancy in State House District 71; on February 5th, 2013. A run-off election, if needed, shall be held on March 5th, 2013.

Qualifying for the special election shall be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. The dates and hours of qualifying will be Monday, January 7th, 2013 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 12 o’clock noon. The qualifying fee shall be $400.

All persons who are not registered to vote and who desire to vote in the special election must register to vote before the close of business on Monday, January 7th, 2012. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013.

Qualifying Ends In SD11, SD21, and HD21.

Qualifying for three Special Elections ended at Noon today. Special Elections for Senate Districts 11 & 21, and House District 21 are set for Tuesday January 8.

Here are the candidates:

State Senate District 11
Marshall Berman (R) – Thomasville
Dean Burke (R) – Bainbridge
Brad Hughes (R) – Blakely
Mike Keown (R) – Coolidge
Eugene McNease (R) – Thomasville
Lisa Collins (D) – Blakely
Jeffrey G. Bivins (L) – Cairo

State Senate District 21
Brandon Beach (R) – Alpharetta (website)
Sean Jerguson (R) –Canton (website)

State Rep. District 21
Bill Fincher (R) – Canton
Brian Laurens (R) – Canton (website)
Kenneth Ashley Mimbs (R) – Canton
Scot Turner (R) – Holly Springs (website)
Natalie Bergeron (D) – Canton (website)
Eduardo Correia (I) – Canton

Discuss.

Legislative Races To Watch Tomorrow

Among the items on your ballot tomorrow will be your State Representative and State Senator. Some of you live in areas where those races are contested and a few seats are actually in play. Several incumbents were tossed out in primaries earlier this year but will that translate into voters tossing out members of one party and replacing them with the other? With a few exceptions I don’t think so. My take on the seats in play tomorrow is as follows:

STATE SENATE

The Senate is rather quite. The only race really in doubt is SD6 between incumbent Democrat Doug Stoner and GOP challenger Hunter Hill. Both candidates have plenty of money and I think the race will be close either way.

SD9 between incumbent Republican Don Balfour and Democratic challenger Scott Drake has attracted interest but I don’t see this race as close. Balfour wins easily in the solidly Republican district.

UPDATE: Also there is a special election in SD30. Republicans Dugan, Hembree, Naughton, and Richardson square off. My prediction is a runoff between Hembree and Naughton. While Richardson has name ID, so does Hembree. Naughton is from Carroll County, which represents the largest part of the district.

STATE HOUSE

I don’t think any GOP House incumbent is in serious trouble.

Possible pickups for the GOP:
HD12: Barbara Massey Reece (D) v. Eddie Lumsden (R) probably a toss up race.
HD16: Rick Crawford (D) is in serious trouble. I think Trey Kelley (R) wins big.
HD66: Open seat with 43% black voting age population. Bob Snelling (R) v. Kimberly Alexander (R D). Leans Democratic.
HD81: Scott Holcomb (D) v. Chris Boedeker (R). Leans Republican.
HD96: Pedro Marin (D) v. Mark Williams (R). Leans Republican.
HD132: Carl Von Epps (D) v. Gene King (R). Could be close but leans Democratic because of a 41% black voting age population.
HD105: New toss up seat in Gwinnett. Joyce Chandler (R) v. Renita Hamilton (D). Black VAP is 34%. The election is a toss up in my opinion.

Where am I wrong and what races did I miss?

Full disclosure: I’ve donated money to Boedeker, Chandler, Kelley, King, and Williams.

UPDATE: I should have also mentioned HD111. It’s a new seat in Henry County. Brian Strickand (R) v. Bill Blackmon (R). The seat leans Republican so Strickland is favored to win.