Party Time: Candidates to converge on Square tonight for celebrations
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
July 22, 2014 04:00 AM | 4115 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LOOK for Marietta Square once again to be “ground zero” for election-night parties tonight. Voters might get tired of primaries and primary-runoffs and elections and election-runoffs, but to bar and restaurant owners, they’re synonymous with dollar signs, bringing hundreds of people (and sometimes more) out to celebrate (or commiserate) on what otherwise are typically slow Tuesday nights.

There were so many candidates holding their parties around the Square on Primary night back in May that downtown had a festive atmosphere, even though final results didn’t trickle in until the proverbial midnight hour.

With fewer races on the ballot today, there will be fewer parties tonight, but the Square remains the “go-to” place.

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ELEVENTH DISTRICT U.S. Congressional candidate Bob Barr of Smyrna will throw his party in the old Theatre on the Square building starting at 7 p.m. Barr’s party had been slated for the fourth-floor of the Strand Theatre with its balcony and incomparable view of downtown. But a malfunctioning elevator at the Strand reportedly forced the shift to the other theater.

Barry Loudermilk of Cartersville, who was the front-runner in the Primary, will hold his party at The Conservatory in downtown Acworth. The address is 4849 N. Main St., Acworth. www.conservatoryatwaterstone.com/.

The two semi-finalists for the GOP nomination for the District 1 seat representing northwest Cobb on the county commission will throw parties that bookend the north side of the Square tonight. Bill Byrne will hold court in the upstairs room at Shillings restaurant at the corner of North Park Square and Church Street, while Bob Weatherford will do the same in the second floor mezzanine room at The Strand at the corner of North Park Square and Cherokee Street. Access to Weatherford’s party will be through the grand staircase in the lobby if the elevator is not ready. Both candidates were in the same locations on Primary night.

The two finalists for the soon-to-be vacant seat on the Cobb Superior Court bench will be having their parties on the Square, too. Juanita Stedman will again be in the upstairs room at The Butcher The Baker on North Park Square. And Ann Harris and supporters will be at The Local (the former Tommy’s location) at the corner of Atlanta and Roswell streets. It’s a step up for surprise primary front-runner Harris, considering her primary night party consisted of just a table in the alley at Hemingway’s.

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CAN DAVID PERDUE do it again in Cobb today? That is, can today’s U.S. Senate GOP runoff finalist win Cobb again like he did in the Primary? He led today’s fellow runoff-candidate Jack Kingston (and the rest of the pack) in Cobb by a wide margin May 20. But now that it’s down to just two candidates, and with Kingston expected to run very strong in south and coastal Georgia, it’s vital for Perdue to draw well in north Georgia, especially Cobb.

Perdue was the leading statewide vote-getter in the primary, 30.6 percent to 25.8 for Kingston. But Kingston came in a far-distant fourth in Cobb County with just 12.6 percent behind Perdue’s 30.1, Karen Handel’s 29.3 and Phil Gingrey’s 20.1.

In fact, counting only votes from Georgia precincts north of I-20 (which means virtually all of Cobb), Perdue (32 percent) far outpaced Kingston (15 percent). On the other hand, Kingston garnered 40 percent of the votes cast south of I-20, to Perdue’s 29 percent.

All told, 57 percent of Georgia’s GOP primary votes came from north of I-20. Those figures go far toward explaining why both candidates have spent so much time in Cobb and the Northside during the runoff period.

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COBB GENERATED more Republican votes in the primary than any of Georgia’s 158 other counties, and you can expect that to be true today as well, thanks in no small part to the fierce battles between Barr and Loudermilk in the 11th and Byrne and Weatherford for commissioner. Cobb voters cast 50,494 ballots in the Senate primary May 20, nearly 10,000 more than second-place finisher Gwinnett County.

As for total turnout, Cobb accounted for roughly 8 percent of Georgia’s total GOP turnout that day. That was enough for first-place in the state, but it’s far less than in days gone by. To cite just one example, Cobb produced 15 percent of the state’s votes in 1996 in the Republican Primary between Guy Milner and east Cobb’s Johnny Isakson for the seat being vacated by Sen. Sam Nunn. Why is Cobb’s percentage dropping? For one thing, Cobb’s demographics have changed markedly since then, with white voter registration essentially stagnant over the past 15 years. Meanwhile, formerly rural exurbs like Bartow, Cherokee and Paulding counties now are suburbanized and heavily Republican.

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MOST OF THE ACTION is in the Republican Primary today, yet politicos aren’t expecting Democratic crossover voting to be much of a factor in the runoffs for U.S. Senate and 11th District congressman. But you can expect some Marietta and west Cobb Democrats with long memories to make a point of voting today in the GOP Primary for District 1 Commissioner just so they can vote against Bill Byrne, who, as chairman 20 years ago, was point man for the commission’s notorious resolution slamming “gay lifestyles” and promoting “family values.”

It’s believed the same voting pattern in the May 20 primary caused some collateral damage: state Sen. Steve Thompson (D-west Marietta, Powder Springs), who saw his lengthy political career effectively come to an end that day. Politicos suspect many white Democrats who normally would have voted for Thompson instead crossed over, relishing the opportunity to cast a ballot against Byrne. Thompson, the longest-tenured member of the Senate, was defeated in the Democratic Primary by political novice Michael Rhett, an African-American.

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LOCKHEED: ASL Aviation Group signed a Letter of Intent last week with Lockheed Martin to purchase up to 10 of LM’s new LM-100J commercial freighters. Pricing details were not released. The LM-100J is the commercial version of the venerable C-130 Hercules cargolifter built at Lockheed’s Marietta plant since 1955. The LM-100s will be assembled on the same production line as the latest version of the C-130, the C-130J Super Hercules.

The LM-100Js will be an updated version of the L-100 cargo plane.

ASL, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a global leader in the air freight industry and has a fleet of 80 aircraft.

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AROUND TOWN learned as this page went to press on Monday that 11th District hopeful Barr had been endorsed by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

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EVENTS: The 16th Cobb Bar Association Alexis Grubbs Memorial Scholarship Golf tournament will be held at Brookstone Country Club on Sept. 9 with lunch and dinner provided. The scholarship has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to students at Marietta High School through the years. For more info, go to www.cobbcountybar.org or call Cobb Bar director Linda Hill at (770) 424 2947. ...

The Georgia Ballet will present “Ballet, Bourbon & BBQ” from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 9 featuring food, bourbon and wine tastings, a live auction and live music from Migrant Worker, reports the Ballet’s Katy Ruth Camp. Tickets are $75 for the event, which will take place at the estate of Ashleyanne and Sam Hensley Jr. on Davis Carnes Lane in Marietta. For ticket info, go to georgiaballet.org.

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PEOPLE: Keeping it in the family: Dawn Dunaway McEachern was sworn in in late June as the new president of the Marietta Rotary Club — a club founded by her great-great-grandfather John W. Hancock in 1919, who also became its first president. Hancock’s son Ralph, and grandson Ralph Jr., also served as presidents. McEachern’s father, Bill Dunaway, joined Rotary in 1964 and her uncle, W.H. Dunaway, served as president back in 1949.

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