Senate may have just created the most expensive legislative race in state history

After five hours of debate and a straight party-line vote, the state Senate on Thursday created what is likely to be the most expensive legislative race in Georgia history.

The new Senate District 6, as passed by the Senate on Thursday

The new Senate District 6, as passed by the Senate on Thursday

Yes, Senate Republicans also passed a map designed to give them a two-thirds majority in the chamber after 2012, and allow GOP domination of local legislation for majority non-white Fulton County.

More on that later.

Key to the Republican search for a constitutional majority is Senate District 6, now occupied by Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna. The Cobb County district has been shifted east into most of Buckhead and much of Sandy Springs. Republicans will make up 55 percent of the district.

The contest for the seat will be a political consultant’s playground – a district populated by many would-be politicians and millionaires. Chances are, in some cases, they’ll turn out to be one and the same.

The contest is likely to eclipse the 2002 state Senate race between Republicans Renee Unterman and Joyce Stevens, which saw the pair spend nearly $1 million for the $16,200 a year job.

Potential Republican candidates include Beth Beskin, an attorney who ran against state Sen. Horacena Tate, a Democrat, in 2010. Josh Belinfante, a member of what was formerly called the State Ethics Commission, is also considering the race.

But there may be a fly in the ointment. After the vote, I caught Stoner walking out of his basement office. I asked him if was true that Republicans had invited him to join their side of the aisle. The Smyrna Democrat acknowledged that Republicans had knocked on his door, recently, with that offer.

Stoner has not given them an answer, though. Too soon for such things.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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50 comments Add your comment

[...] a race for the newly created 6th district may be the most expensive Senate race in Georgia history. Unless a primary became suddenly unnecessary: But there may be a fly in the ointment. After the vote, I caught Stoner walking out of his [...]

Intown

August 18th, 2011
6:19 pm

What a complete mockery of democracy.

VOTE

August 18th, 2011
6:52 pm

REPUBLICAN it is a lot better than what you have now.

td

August 18th, 2011
7:02 pm

I sure hope Stoner does not flip sides. He was my Senator for about 10 years and was an A$$ and needs to get thrown out of office no matter what party he belongs too.

atlmom

August 18th, 2011
7:16 pm

How do you know exactly where “republicans” or “democrats” live? WOW.

Beth Beskin

August 18th, 2011
7:17 pm

Hi, Jim – At least, please get my name right: Beth Beskin – like “Baskin-Robbins” but with an “e.”

Concerned

August 18th, 2011
7:26 pm

Before you liberals and AJC start crying, maybe you should check the records on when the last lines were redrawn. The dems redrew the lines to “their” specifications.

jals

August 18th, 2011
7:27 pm

As a Smyrna resident I say do it Stoner. With the gentrification in Smyrna it was just a matter of time before the current district would vote majority R anyway. Doug is an excellent public servant who serves metro interests well and I hope he will join the majority party and run for re-election.

A dad

August 18th, 2011
7:30 pm

Is anyone else offended by the underlying allegation that blacks can only be properly represented by other blacks? Cause that seems to be what the democrats are saying here. Only in the South…

Centrist

August 18th, 2011
7:30 pm

Surprisingly, included at the end of an AJC article mostly quoting Democrat complaints:

The process caused friction among Democrats. Majority Whip Rep. Edward Lindsey, D-Atlanta, and Minority Leader Rep. Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, continued their contentious exchange from a committee hearing earlier this week. Lindsey said some Democrats would support the maps but won’t vote for them out of fear of political retribution.

Lindsey displayed on giant screens in the House chamber a copy of an e-mail Abrams sent her caucus warning that a vote in favor of the Republican plan could lead to primary opposition next year.

Democrats, Lindsey said, aren’t publicly supporting the maps “not because these aren’t fair maps, it’s because they’ve been threatened with their political future if they vote for it.”

Centrist

August 18th, 2011
7:48 pm

Wait until next week when the Congressional maps are put out – the AJC and other Democrats will be screaming bloody murder because there will not be any 300 mile long snake shaped districts protecting Democrats.

Alex Hamilton

August 18th, 2011
8:07 pm

Interesting how even a member of the loyal opposition in the ruling class that is the general assembly can simply throw on a new cloak and keep on trucking.

Buckhead Business Owner

August 18th, 2011
8:29 pm

I am glad that we might have Senator Stoner be our representative. He is a pro-business moderate. You don’t have to label him anything more than that. I suspect his views match up well with the folks he will be newly representing. Good Luck Senator.

Some guy

August 18th, 2011
8:45 pm

Like his politics or not, Stoner is a nice guy (and he is very pro-business). He will not switch though. He will fight to the bitter end and could possibly win because of the whole Milton County issue. Buckhead voters do not want a Milton County because they would then be the tax base for all of Atlanta.

If he does not win, well, he has a really nice lobbying position…

flush stoner

August 18th, 2011
9:03 pm

Stoner is as lefty as they come… anyone who thinks he is a moderate must be wearing a blindfold.

Serious Robuck

August 18th, 2011
9:05 pm

Lindsay is my representative. Totally worthless shill. As pompous as Barnes. And as racist as Maddox.

Just Nasty & Mean

August 18th, 2011
9:46 pm

Ed Lindsey is a laughable joke, and should be a Fulton Co. commissioner instead of a state rep. He seems fixated on defending Fulton from its avalanche of criticism and screw-ups instead of focusing on the state’s business.

Hey Mr. Ed….In 2007, You wasted an entire legislative session trying to fix Fulton and accomplished nothing! Focus on your STATE job or get the hell out of the way and run for county commissioner.

The people want a State Rep…not a babysitter for Fulton Co.

[...] the AJC: Key to the Republican search for a constitutional majority is Senate District 6, now occupied by [...]

Centrist

August 18th, 2011
10:19 pm

That Georgia Politico link above – “GAPolitico started out as UGA Liberal”.

Buckhead

August 18th, 2011
10:23 pm

Beth Beskin would make a great Senator- is a perfect fit for this district and should certainly run.

findog

August 18th, 2011
10:24 pm

atlmom, they can just the the presidential election results by precinct to determine where the democrats are, any precinct that voted for McCain is a solidly safe republican seat

Alabama Communist

August 18th, 2011
10:44 pm

More Breaking News On Stoner District Going South By The Republicans… A source within the Republican Party said it was true that somebody knock on his door trying to sell him a Condo in Florida at a discount. However, when it came to funding the Condo, his credit report said he was not a weathly Republican and therefore was deny his loan and District,,,,

honested

August 18th, 2011
10:58 pm

As long as the 40th District can come up with a reasonable Democrat to crush fran millar, I will be happy.

He may not be in the Fulton Delegation, but he has been more than a willing lapdog for this totalitarian fiasco known as redistricting.

All so he can hope to be included in the new fake county north of Fulton that will never happen.

In any case, good riddance fran, don’t let the door slap your fat white a$$ on the way out.

honested

August 18th, 2011
10:59 pm

Alabama

Ain’t it the truth!

honested

August 18th, 2011
11:00 pm

findog

If they voted for mccain, doesn’t it just show a very low district IQ?

Centrist

August 18th, 2011
11:09 pm

@ honested – we had a closest point of approach (cpa) on a single issue yesterday, but now you have lurched way back to the left with your partisanslip showing.

honested

August 18th, 2011
11:16 pm

centrist

Pardon me if I put the concerns of myself and my neighbors ahead of your intentional self delusion.

I have no intention of being a willing tool in this miscarriage of electoral process.

Centrist

August 18th, 2011
11:18 pm

honested posted: “I have no intention of being a willing tool in this miscarriage of electoral process.”

Where were you 10 years ago? It was a LOT worse.

honested

August 18th, 2011
11:30 pm

centrist

10 years ago was at least controlled by statesmen.

Today, it is controlled by toadys willing to sell out to the highest bidder.

Whether they suck up to the imaginary ‘center’ (which they obviously do not) or not, the should at least make a meager attempt to REPRESENT the people in their respective districts.

honested

August 18th, 2011
11:31 pm

centrist

Or put bluntly….

Did you think I was listening to you ….

Here, shine my shoes.

Friday Open Thread | Blog for Democracy

August 19th, 2011
3:07 am

[...] Doug Stoner is apparently being whined and dined by the GAGOP. [...]

Smoke

August 19th, 2011
5:56 am

If the redistricting was such a grand liberal scheme 10-years ago to pigeon-hole conservatives, they failed miserably. When the next legislative session starts, do not continue to complain about how your representatives are unfocused and corrupt. Because, they will not be representing you.

Beth Beskin

August 19th, 2011
7:15 am

Jim – Thanks for correcting the spelling of my name after I posted my first comment. I appreciate it!

GB

August 19th, 2011
7:19 am

“10 years ago was at least controlled by statesmen.”

I could spend an hour or two describing the myriad problems with the 2001 Barnes maps. I have to go to work, so I will just mention one, the one that made the maps illegal. Democratic districts were systematically underpopulated, and Republican districts overpopulated, by 5%. This was one means used in a desparate attempt to keep the Ds in power in a state trending Republican. Statesmen? Nonsense!

Smoke

August 19th, 2011
7:36 am

Just think. The 40% of Georga’s population who are white moderate, centrist, independent, or liberal have no political representation. At the same time, I can’t wait to see who conservatives will blame for their ineptness that is sure to continue.

common sense

August 19th, 2011
7:47 am

georgia is basically control by republicans now and i bel the latest data indicated unemployment
was at 10 percent..therefore we really have alot to look forward too with more republicans taking
office, will be very interesting to see who will be blame then…..

jconservative

August 19th, 2011
8:06 am

And the plan must pass the Department of Justice review. Correct?

honested

August 19th, 2011
8:17 am

Smoke

If only the Citizens will stand up and ask the cons when their ‘grand scheme’ will start to provide value for Georgians.
Of course they will probably point to their successful efforts to balkanize much of North Atlanta (as if that is what most Georgians wanted).

td

August 19th, 2011
8:17 am

Smoke

August 19th, 2011
7:36 am
Just think. The 40% of Georgia’s population who are white moderate, centrist, independent, or liberal have no political representation. At the same time, I can’t wait to see who conservatives will blame for their ineptness that is sure to continue

If Georgia’s African American population is 38% and are mostly Democrat then how can there be 40% whites not represented by Democrats? In reality there is about 5% of whites that regularly vote for Democrats. There are plenty of RINO’s in the legislature that the liberal whites can support.

honested

August 19th, 2011
8:35 am

td

You seem to misunderstand that being a ‘rino’ is reason enough to generate absolute lack of trust among thinking people.

td

August 19th, 2011
8:46 am

honested

August 19th, 2011
8:35 am
td

You seem to misunderstand that being a ‘rino’ is reason enough to generate absolute lack of trust among thinking people.

I do not disagree with you on that point. Personally I would like to see all RINO’s and lawyers thrown out of the legislature and replaced by good conservative business men/women.

phil

August 19th, 2011
9:12 am

How many 10′ wide districts will there be?

[...] And that Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner of Smyrna, who’s district was hauled into Fulton County, has been approached about switching parties. [...]

honested

August 19th, 2011
10:51 am

Hopefully Doug Stoner will tell the rethugs to stuff it, continue to win reelection and watch the steam emanate from the wrong wingers ears.

No Teabagging

August 19th, 2011
11:33 am

Redistricting. Another side show for the political parties. Another reason to end the two party system. Let’s make all candidates independent and responsible for their actions to their constituents. Our current system makes elected officials kool aid drinkers for their party only legislating according to party wishes, not what is best for the public. The only creative statements they issue are ones that bash the other party. Rarely do we get politicians, in public, presenting valid ideas and plans for the future to the constituents.

Self_Made

August 19th, 2011
3:19 pm

a Dad…that’s what REPUBLICANS are saying.

Self_Made

August 19th, 2011
3:28 pm

I’m a fan of “No Teabagging”, whomever he or she is.

Personally, I’m wondering how many of the Republicans supporting this new map were Democrats who supported the old map back in 2001. Same guys, same tricks, different parties.

Randolph Phillips

August 20th, 2011
1:43 pm

As one who once served in the legislature, this Senate District looks like a difficult one to represent, with the Cobb County and Buckhead constituencies being fairly distinct from each other and each having a considerable share of the votes.

I do not know Mr. Stoner, but based on some issues a few years back which were in the news, I think he may be chamelion enough to change parties successfully to save his career.

I have known Senator George Hooks for many years, and I was saddened to see his district disappear. The integrity of the district has been stable through many reapportionments, and George Hooks is an outstanding legislator. His intelligence, experience, and expertise will be missed when he leaves the legislature. George’s institutional knowledge of state government, the capitol, and legislature is equalled by few current members of the House and Senate

[...] And that Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner of Smyrna, who’s district was hauled into Fulton County, has been approached about switching parties. [...]

Free at Last

August 22nd, 2011
9:03 pm

Thank God I’m no longer behind enemy lines and away from John Lewis!