February 10, 2017 1:41 PM
The upcoming special election to fill Tom Price’s now vacated 6th Congressional seat can now begin in earnest. The free-for-all has been scheduled. Governor Deal has issued the call for an election, and qualifying will be Monday, Feb. 13 through Wednesday, Feb. 15. The Special Election will be Tuesday, April 18, with the runoff scheduled for Tuesday, June 20.
The timing of the election and the sheer number of candidates make this campaign akin to a jungle primary, where the election is held only to winnow the field down to two. It’s highly likely that the ultimate winner won’t be decided until the runoff.
This should be an interesting race to watch, and not just because Democrats are seeking to upend the historic voting patterns and genuinely believe they have a chance at stealing a 60%+ Republican seat. Their explanation runs something like: “Moderate Republicans, independents and fired-up Democrats will be so embarrassed and disgusted by the actions of President Trump that they will vote for a Democrat to defy him.” As a political strategy, such thinking vastly underestimates my party’s tolerance for public humiliation -did they even watch the GOP convention last summer? They should also factor in the historically low voter turnout rates in special elections -the most motivated and most partisan voters are the ones most likely to show up.
But hey, I’ve been wrong about Trump for more than a year and still haven’t quite figured him out, so maybe he’s the black swan that creates even more black swans. That’s for the candidates to figure out.
That list includes Karen Handel, who will start this race as a clear frontrunner as the only candidate whose name ID isn’t in the single-digit range, and the only one above 20%.
Handel will face off against former city Councilman Bob Gray, local businessman Kurt Wilson, ex State Senator Dan Moody, soon-to-be ex State Senator Judson Hair, Dunwoody jeweler (and diversity coordinator for the Trump campaign) Bruce Levell, CPA William Llop -and that’s just the Republicans. Democrats’ names being considered include Ron “votin’ for” Slotin, former State Representative Sally Harrell, (who is no kin to current Republican State Rep. Brett Harrell, as far as either of them know) and former congressional aide Jonathan Ossoff, who’s been endorsed by Congressmen John Lewis and Hank Johnson (AND from the comments, has TWO f’s his last name AND a fresh endorsement from House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams!) Marietta plumber Joseph Pond is running as an independent, and Democratic fundraiser and power-broker Jeremy Berry still hasn’t ruled out a run.
Editorial note: Absent breaking news, this post will stay up top over the weekend, because as Joe Buck says, this is a must-win race for everybody, and we want to hear your thoughts, strategies and speculations. Feel free to pick sides. Candidates or campaigns should also feel free to leave a link to their campaign websites in the comments, and I’ll update the original post as I can. If I’ve left any candidate out, it’s an error, not a conspiracy. Just say so in the comments, and I’ll correct the post.