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.
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