An earlier version of the following was posted Monday:
Today brings four special elections for legislative seats in metro Atlanta and south Georgia – just in time for next Monday’s opening of the January session of the General Assembly.
Of the quartet, the hottest is the contest to fill the Senate seat vacated by Chip Rogers of Woodstock, who left to take a job with Georgia Public Broadcasting after losing a fight to retain his position as majority leader. From the Woodstock Patch:
The race, hotly contested between Holly Springs resident Sean Jerguson and North Fulton Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Brandon Beach, is the source of nearly $50,000 in contributions made in its short life span of one month.
Over at Atlanta Unfiltered, Jim Walls has dinged both Senate candidates. First one:
When Brandon Beach ran for the Senate in 2010, he raised $13,600 to be spent on the general election once he became the Republican nominee. He didn’t make it that far, though, losing a primary runoff by a thin margin.
State law requires candidates to refund contributions raised for an election in which they’re not on the ballot. Beach’s campaign kept those donations in his campaign account, using some for expenses and rolling the rest over to his 2012 race. State law may allow some of that money to be reallocated after the fact to cover 2010 primary or runoff expenses, but at least $8,400 could not be redesignated since it came from donors who had reached contribution limits for those races.
Financial disclosures filed by Sean Jerguson during his six years as a state representative listed ownership interests in several businesses but omitted more than $1 million worth of real estate that they own. Those properties include the site of his Cherokee County shooting range, which it bought from another of his businesses with the help of a federally-guaranteed loan, and a Cedartown mobile home park owned with partners that is perpetually late paying its property taxes.
Meanwhile, a last word from Rogers comes in the form of his final column for Townlaker, a local community magazine that never says a bad word about anyone:
It has been an honor to be part of this publication. In today’s world, where journalism is a dead art and sensationalism laced with negativity has become the accepted form of “so-called”news reporting, it is nice to be associated with a magazine that focuses on positive stories with the purpose of being both informational and uplifting.
Amid four races and a total of 14 candidates today, you’ll find only one Democrat. She’s Natalie Bergeron, a 41-year-old attorney in the House District 21 race – to replace Sean Jerguson, who’s attempting to make the leap to the state Senate.
Three Republicans are on the ballot. Over the weekend, Rashad Richey, political director for the state Democratic party, declared in an email to party members that the contest has the makings of an upset:
There is a state house race that will be decided this Tuesday in a ruby red area of the state. And with several Republicans and only one Democrat in the race, we can win if A) the Republicans split their votes between several candidates and B) we get every Democrat to vote for Natalie Bergeron.
That has led Scot Turner to urge his two Republican rivals – Brian Laurens and Kenneth Mimbs — to fold up their tents and go home early. The prospect of Democrats in Cherokee County is just too terrible to contemplate:
“Democrats are trying to steal a seat that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to compete for going into the final weekend of this special election. The Georgia Democratic Party has sent out an email blast to its entire statewide network encouraging members to contribute financially and volunteer for the democrat opposition’s campaign. If this race goes to a runoff, the likelihood that the Democratic Political machine will come to Cherokee County en masse becomes a real possibility. Cherokee County doesn’t need this; the time to unite is now.
Chances are, the House District 21 race will end up in a run-off. That, too, is the likely fate for the Senate District 11 race to replace the retiring John Bulloch of Ochlocknee.
Six candidates are competing for the south Georgia seat – five Republicans and one Libertarian:
– Retired state Department of Labor employee Marshall Berman, 73, of Thomasville;
– Dean Burke, 55, a physician from Bainbridge;
– Brad Hughes, 35, of Blakely;
– Mike Keown, 58, a minister and former congressional candidate from Coolidge;
– Eugene McNease, a 70-year-old retiree from Thomasville;
– and Jeffrey G. Bivins, 43 and a Libertarian, from Cairo.
One more contest to be settled today: A special general election for Senate District 30 to replace Bill Hamrick of Carrollton, who resigned in September to accept a Superior Court judgeship. The district covers Paulding, Douglas and Carroll counties.
Mike Dugan, a Carrollton building contractor, won a GOP primary runoff in December, beating former House rules committee chairman Bill Hembree of Winston. Dugan faces Libertarian James Camp of Temple on today’s ballot.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider