Last week’s qualifying resulted in unexpected challengers for county commission and school board seats, as well as challengers for a number of veteran legislators.
IT consultant Derrick Crump will run unopposed in the Democratic Primary on May 20 for the right to face the winner of the GOP Primary that day to fill the Cobb Commission District 1 seat representing heavily Republican northwest Cobb now held by the retiring Helen Goreham. Five Republicans are vying for that post: Angela Barner, former Commission Chairman Bill Byrne, Glenn Melson, Scott Tucker and Bob Weatherford.
Two Republicans (Michael Opitz and Joseph Pond) are challenging District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell. There is no Democrat seeking her seat.
Two Republicans — incumbent Barry Morgan and challenger Cindi Yeager — are running for State Court solicitor general. There is no Democrat in that race.
Three Republicans (incumbent Tim Stultz and challengers Jeff Abel and Susan Thayer) are running for the Post 2 Cobb School Board seat. Democrat Kenya Pierce will run against the winner in the fall.
Two Republicans will face each other May 20 for the Post 4 school board seat being vacated by Kathy Angelucci: David Chastain III and Bill Scott. No Democrat is running.
A pair of Republicans, but no Democrats, are running for the Post 6 school board seat: incumbent Scott Sweeney and Kevin Nicholas.
AT THE STATEHOUSE, incumbent District 34 state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) will be challenged by Bert Reeves in the GOP Primary; incumbent District 38 Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell) is being challenged by Connie Taylor in the Democratic Primary; and District 44 Rep. Don Parsons (R-east Cobb) is being challenged in the primary by Stephen Fellows. None of those three incumbents has a challenger from the opposing party.
Three political newcomers are running for the House District 39 seat being vacated by Rep. Alisha Thomas (D-Austell), who is running for state School Board Chairman. The three are Democrats, business owner Branson Wright, former Thomas aide Erica Thomas (no relation to the incumbent) and educator Monica Delancy. No Republican is seeking the seat.
And over on the Senate side, District 33 incumbent Steve Thompson (D-Powder Springs), the longest-serving member of that body, is being challenged by Democrat Michael Rhett, who ran unsuccessfully for the Cobb Commission seat won by Lisa Cupid two years ago. And fellow longtime incumbent Sen. Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta, south Cobb) is being challenged by Democratic newcomer Reginald Crossley in District 38.
Primary runoff day is July 22.
THE FALL will feature a slender harvest of just three General Election races for statehouse seats representing Cobb districts.
Democrat Antron Johnson will challenge first-term Republican incumbent Sen. Hunter Hill in District 06.
Perennial Democratic challenger Bill Bolton of Marietta, who in the past has run without much luck for mayor, governor and president, is running against first-term Republican incumbent Sam Teasley (R-Marietta).
And consultant Erick Allen, Democrat, will challenge eight-term incumbent Republican Sen. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), in District 40.
THE MAY 20 BALLOT also will feature a non-partisan race to succeed retiring Cobb Superior Court Judge Jim Bodiford. The three candidates who qualified, as expected, are Cobb Juvenile Court Judge Juanita Stedman, Cobb assistant District Attorney Ann Harris and attorney Nathan Wade.
No candidates qualified to run against incumbent Superior Court Judges Robert Flournoy III and Rob Leonard.
ELSEWHERE, state Attorney General Sam Olens of east Cobb picked up a challenger, attorney Greg Hecht of Stockbridge. And state Rep. Alisha Thomas (D) and businessman Fitz Johnson (R), both of Cobb, signed up in their respective primaries to run for state school superintendent.
On the federal level, as expected, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) qualified to run for U.S. Senate and Cobb’s Bob Barr and Tricia Pridemore were among six who qualified to run for Gingrey’s current 11th District seat in the GOP Primary. Others are Buckhead’s Ed Lindsey, Cassville’s Barry Loudermilk, Woodstock’s Larry Mrozinski and Allan Levene. No Democrat is running for the 11th. Likewise, no Republican qualified to run in the 13th District against Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta, south Cobb). U.S. Rep. Tom Price, whose district includes east Cobb, picked up a challenge from Democrat Robert Montigle.
AND A SPECIAL “SHOUT-OUT” to current office-holders who escaped qualifying week without picking up any challengers. While it doesn’t necessarily mean voters have given them a “silent mandate,” it does mean most are viewed as either unbeatable or highly regarded — or in many cases, both.
To them, a special salute today.
THAT WAS THE CASE in Atlanta as well, where Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines of Marietta, who was appointed to that court in 1995 by Gov. Zell Miller, will be unchallenged in the coming election.
Hines’s good fortune might have stemmed from his choice of footwear: When he went to qualify last week, he wore a pair of Florsheim shoes he purchased in 1974 and which he wore to qualify to run that year for a Cobb State Court judgeship. He wound up winning every precinct in Cobb in both the primary and general election and has not had an electoral opponent since. He now has qualified to run 11 times — and worn his lucky Florsheims every time, according to son-in-law Clem Doyle.
MORE POLITICS: Bob Barr hosted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for a fundraiser on Monday. Meanwhile, Mayor Steve Tumlin and wife Jean Alice will co-host a fundraiser for the mayor’s former legislative colleague Ed Lindsey. The 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday event will be at the Atlanta home of Cindy and Bill Voyles. Tumlin earlier co-hosted a similar event for Marietta’s Tricia Pridemore, who’s also running for the 11th seat.
“I am delighted to be a host for my very good friend, Lindsey,” Tumlin told AT. “I shy away from the big ‘E’ word, ‘Endorsement,’ and am glad to support friends where I can.” ...
The Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police Kermit Sanders Lodge No. 13 endorsed Barry Morgan last week for another term and also endorsed Michael Opitz, who’s running for the District 3 seat. ... Tumlin will deliver his “State of the City” address at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Mansour Center at the Marietta Area Council of the Cobb Chamber meeting.
A PORTRAIT of late A.P. Capitol reporter Dick Pettys painted by MDJ syndicated columnist Dick Yarbrough was unveiled in the state Senate on Monday. The two were longtime friends.
“When it was announced last year that I would be painting the portrait, Speaker Ralston put his arm around me as we were leaving the House chamber and said if I wanted to take a six-month sabbatical from my column to concentrate on painting, he could support it. Good luck with that,” Yarbrough told AT.
ON THE MEND: Strand Theatre director Earl Reese is finally out and about following emergency bypass surgery Christmas evening. He’s back at work and attended his first Kiwanis meeting of the year Thursday, telling fellow members, “It’s incredibly good to be back. The best Christmas gift I ever got was WellStar.”