And It’s Off To The Race…

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.

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Dave BearseBrettMike HassingerdavidmacNoParty4Me Recent comment authors
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I think the fact that it is a special election is the only reason why the Democrats have a chance.


Handel’s name recognition could help or hurt her. Helps her because it’s a short campaign period but hurts her because folks may be tired of her. Look for Judson Hill to make a strong showing and perhaps there is another unannounced repub candidate.

The Eiger
The Eiger

Judson will have to answer questions about this. “Now, following inquiries by Atlanta Unfiltered, the Marietta Republican has disclosed that he received 68 previously unreported campaign contributions totaling more than $34,000 since 2013.” Checking his campaign disclosures you will find that he has been paying himself nearly $2,000 in mileage from his campaign every quarter. Even when he doesn’t have a campaign. That’s not good and he needs to answer where he was. It seems to be that it would be pretty hard to travel that far in that tiny senate district. Boy! This si going to be fun.


Pro Tip: Campaign branding should more creative than, “I wear a hat”.


Misspelled Ossoff up there, Mike. Also that he got House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams’ endorsement last night.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

The many candidate circumstance is a commercial for ranked voting that would produce the quickest and most representative result.

Speaking as a District result, please post information about any public campaign event. I’ll need the calendar discipline of preparing for a candidate forum to wade through backgrounds and campaigns of so many people.