Hill wins GOP primary in Georgia Senate 6 race
by Noreen Cochran and Rachel Cooper
August 01, 2012 03:00 AM | 10530 views | 4 4 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — In the newly redrawn, Republican-rich state Senate District 6, Hunter Hill of Smyrna won his party’s nomination outright, taking a total of 8,841 votes (53%) in the district that includes portions of both Cobb and Fulton counties.

Cobb’s other legislative races included at least one stunner in the unseating of longtime state Rep. Judy Manning, a Marietta Republican, who was ousted by political newcomer Charles Gregory.

In the state Senate District 6 race, Josh Belinfante was second with a total of 4,826 votes (28%), and Drew Ellenburg, 37, a furniture manufacturer who lives in Buckhead, came in last, receiving 3,146 votes (19%).

Hill said he is grateful for his supporters.

“I’m blown away,” Hill said. “We from the beginning tried to focus on the things that we could control and ignore the things we couldn’t, knowing that the things we couldn’t control would be so far more than the things that we could. We prayed. We had an incredible team of volunteers that were willing to help us the whole time. And I think the message resonated with the voters.”

Belinfante, 35, was executive counsel to Gov. Sonny Perdue and is now a partner in the midtown law firm of Robbins Freed Ross and Belinfante. He raised nearly $120,000 for his campaign.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive as many votes as we have,” Belinfante said Tuesday night.

Hill, 35, is a West Point graduate and combat veteran who fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This is his second attempt at unseating incumbent Democrat Doug Stoner, and he amassed a war chest of more than $200,000 for this year’s campaign.

His chances may be better this year than in 2008, since the General Assembly reapportioned the district this year to include a portion of Republican-heavy Buckhead. In 2010, Hill won nearly 40 percent of the vote in the general election.

Here’s how Cobb’s other legislative races turned out.

State Senate, 38th: In this district, which with the 2012 reapportionment now includes a portion of south Cobb and some of Fulton County, incumbent Democrat Horacena Tate easily held on to her seat against a primary challenge by Reginald Crossley. Tate’s take was 14,781 votes (77%) to Crossley’s 4,390 votes (23%). No Republicans are seeking the seat in the November general election.

State House, 34th: In a shocker, longtime incumbent Judy Manning lost to GOP challenger Charles Gregory. Gregory had 4,061 votes (56%) over Manning’s 3,241 votes (44%).

“I’ve worked really hard to serve my constituents,” Manning said late Tuesday. “If not, we’ll continue to work and be active in the community and do what we need to do. I want to say thank you to my voters for their support for the years I’ve been in service, and I want to thank them for the years going forward.”

Gregory said that he felt good about his first political endeavor — and added that Manning did not return his calls.

“I’ve had a lot of inspired volunteers that are very passionate about small government and less taxes,” Gregory said. “Thank you for giving me to opportunity to serve, and I will do my best to be responsive to their needs and reduce taxes, reduce spending, get government out of our lives and out of our pocketbooks.”

No Democrats are seeking the seat in the November general election.

State House, 41st: Democrats Diana L. Eckles and Michael Smith are headed to a runoff on Aug. 21. This district in south Marietta, just north of Smyrna and Powder Springs, is currently represented by Democrat Terry Johnson, who is not seeking reelection.

Smith, a teacher, was the top vote-getter in returns reported just before midnight with 1,070 votes (42%). Eckles, a sales rep, had 886 votes (35%). Marietta attorney Justin O’Dell took 607 votes (24%).

Smith could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Eckles was obviously pleased.

“I only had a few days over two months to even do a campaign and was able to put a campaign together and put a team together. I had a focus of my campaign of getting out into the community,” she said. “We have three more weeks to get them back to the polls.”

The winner of the runoff will face Republican Phil Daniell in the general election on Nov. 6.

State House 44th: Incumbent Don Parsons easily held onto his seat in this northeast Cobb district, defeating Republican JoEllen Smith.

Parsons won 3,974 votes (60%) to Smith’s 2,627 votes (40%). No Democrats are seeking the seat in the November general election.

“I’m happy that the campaign is over and I can now look forward to helping my fellow Republicans and their races in the fall,” Parsons said.

State House 45th: Republican incumbent Matt Dollar easily held on in the primary over challengers Nick Johnson and Cynthia Rozzo. Dollar won 6,151 votes (58%), while Rozzo took 3,391 votes (32%) and Johnson received 1,057 votes (10%) in the district, which includes east Cobb and a portion of Sandy Springs.

Dollar said he was “humbled and honored.”

“The voters spoke loud and clear in defeating TSPLOST,” he said. “We need to go back to the drawing board and find a transportation plan that’s right for Cobb and right for Georgia.”

No Democrats are seeking the seat in the November general election.

State House 46th: In this district, which now includes northeast Cobb and southeast Cherokee, Republican incumbent John Carson easily fended off a primary challenge by Martin Hawley. Overall, Carson won 5,649 (68%) and Hawley won 2,672 (32%). Carson will face Democrat Kevin Westphal in the general election Nov. 6.

State House 53rd: This district that includes a southeast Smyrna sliver was won by Democrat incumbent Sheila Jones, who bested Robert Patillo and Jason Esteves. Jones received 3,516 votes (65%). Esteves was second with 1,605 (30%), and Patillo was last with 312 votes (6%). No Republicans are seeking the seat in the November general election.

Rachel Cooper contributed to this report.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 01, 2012
sure glad manning is gone. She has been hanging around way to long doing nothing.
Good riddance
August 01, 2012
Way to go Charles! I never liked that arrogant RINO Manning. I hope you enjoy the company that you will now keep down at the gold dome......I don't think you're going to like it.....
Chip Chipperson
August 01, 2012
Very disappointing to see that Manning wouldn't call Gregory back to concede the race. That is just another sign that it was it time to get some new blood into district 34. Hope Gregory can do some good down there.
August 01, 2012
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