Fourteen state lawmakers were defeated or drawn into runoffs on Tuesday, including one party-switcher and one House member who had refused to sign a petition demanding a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers. An attorney for the “birther” movement failed to scratch.
In the Senate, one incumbent lost outright. In the House, 10 were defeated — five Republicans and five Democrats.
Several conservative Republicans who weren’t defeated had very, very close calls.
Some of the highlights:
– In Senate District 6, Republican Hunter Hill (52 percent) swept past Josh Belinfante (29 percent) and Drew Ellenburg (19 percent). Hill’s outright victory is bad news for Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner of Smyrna, whose district was drawn well into Buckhead last year.
– In Senate District 7, Republican Tyler Harper of Ocilla (63 percent) crushed state Rep. Mark Hatfield of Waycross (29 percent). Hatfield, a tea party favorite, has served as an attorney for those seeking to challenge the citizenship of President Barack Obama.
– In Senate District 9, Republican incumbent and rules committee chairman Don Balfour of Snellville (63 percent) easily swept past two challengers despite an unresolved ethics matter.
– In Senate District 18, Republican incumbent Cecil Staton of Macon (50.5 percent) edged out challenger Spencer Price (49.5 percent) by only 207 votes out of more than 20,000 cast.
– In Senate District 21, Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock (59 percent) leaped past Republican challenger Brandon Beach of Alpharetta (41 percent) and disclosures of past associations in the gaming industry.
– In Senate District 25, Republican incumbent Johnny Grant of Milledgeville (47 percent) was defeated by Burt Jones of Jackson (53 percent). Jones faces Democrat Darrell Black of Milledgeville in November.
– In Senate District 26, Democratic incumbent Miriam Paris of Macon (45 percent) was nearly defeated, but drawn into a runoff by former House member David Lucas. (49.23 percent)
– In Senate District 27, Republican incumbent Jack Murphy of Cumming (50.22 percent) barely escaped challenger Steve Voshall (49.73 percent)
– In Senate District 31, Republican incumbent Bill Heath of Bremen (45 percent) was drawn into a runoff by Bill Carruth of Dallas (41 percent).
– In Senate District 44, former senator Gail Buckner (42 percent) drew Democratic incumbent Gail Davenport (34 percent) into a runoff.
– In House District 20, Republican incumbent Charlice Byrd of Woodstock (47 percent) was defeated by Michael Caldwell of Woodstock (53 percent). Caldwell had made an issue of Byrd’s vote changes.
– In House District 34, Republican incumbent Judy Manning of Marietta (44 percent) was defeated by Charles Gregory of Kennesaw (56 percent).
– In House District 57, Democratic incumbent Pat Gardner of Atlanta (63 percent) swept past fellow incumbent Rashad Taylor (37 percent). The two had been placed together during redistricting.
– In House District 58, Democratic incumbent Simone Belle of Atlanta (59 percent) bested fellow incumbent Ralph Long of Atlanta (41 percent). Another redistricted pairing.
– In House District 75, Democratic incumbent Yasmin Neal of Jonesboro (44 percent) was defeated by Mike Glanton of Jonesboro (56 percent).
– In House District 75, Democratic incumbent Glenn Baker of Jonesboro (46 percent) was ousted by challenger Demetrius Douglas (54 percent), also of Jonesboro.
– In House District 109, Republican incumbent Steve Davis of McDonough (34 percent) was crushed by challenger Dale Rutledge of McDonough (66 percent). Davis is considered one of the most conservative members of the Legislature.
– In House District 117, Republican incumbent Doug McKillip of Athens (49.56 percent), who switched parties in 2010, has apparently lost to challenger Regina Quick (50.44 percent) by a mere 66 votes.
State Democrats had urged their voters to cross over into the GOP primary to punish McKillip. One observer told us that one sign of the crossover: In the March GOP presidential primary, Clarke County turned out only 1,900 Republican voters. On Tuesday, almost 3,200 GOP ballots were cast.
McKillip won the other three counties in the district, but it wasn’t enough enough to offset a major loss in Clarke.
– In House District 118, Democratic incumbent Keith Heard of Athens (45 percent) lost to challenger Spencer Frye (55 percent).
– In House District 133, Republican incumbent Kip Smith (48 percent) lost to challenger John Pezold (52 percent). Ethics was an issue in this contest. Smith had refused to sign a petition advocating a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers. A DUI arrest in January didn’t help.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider