Balance of power in Legislature is unchanged

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After Tuesday’s election, the partisan lineup of the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives remained exactly the same as it’s been for the past two years.

Republicans still hold slightly better than two-thirds of the seats – a super-majority – in the Senate, controlling 38 seats to 18 for the Democrats.

In the House, Republicans are still one seat short of two-thirds majority control: they hold 119 seats to 60 for the Democrats with one independent, Rep. Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville.

Ever since the GOP gained control of both chambers in the 2004 elections they have either maintained or added to the number of seats they hold in each election – they have never suffered a net loss of seats to the Democrats.

The outcome of most races was known prior to Tuesday, because Republicans were unopposed in 92 House districts and 26 Senate districts. Democrats had no opposition in 54 House districts and 15 Senate districts.

This translated to more than 80 percent of the House seats and more than 73 percent of the Senate seats being decided prior to election day because of no opposition candidates.

Former House member Elena Parent, an attorney, will replace Jason Carter in the Senate, winning Carter’s DeKalb County seat by about a three-to-one margin over Republican Greg Williams.

Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) won reelection by about a two-to-one margin over Democrat Brian Roslund while Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) defeated Democrat Antron Johnson with 61 percent of the vote.

State Rep. Ellis Black (R-Valdosta) gave up his House seat to run for the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Tim Golden and won it by taking 61 percent of the vote against Bikram Mohanty.

Republicans P. K. Martin, Fran Millar, Ross Tolleson, Bill Jackson, Mike Crane, Mike Dugan, Bill Heath, and John Albers won their contested races, as did Democrats Donzella James and Vincent Fort.

Two party-switching House members, Rep. Mike Cheokas (R-Americus) and Rep. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert), survived Democratic challenges in competitive districts in southwest Georgia.

House Speaker David Ralston and Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones traveled to both districts to campaign for Cheokas and Greene. The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) also endorsed Greene, a retired educator.

Rep. James “Bubber” Epps (R-Dry Branch), who won his Middle Georgia district twice as a Democrat before switching parties, was easily reelected by 64-36 percent over Democrat Joyce Denson.

Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta), an attorney and military veteran running in one of Metro Atlanta’s most competitive districts, defeated Republican real estate broker Jim Duffie by a 53-47 percent margin.

In Gwinnett County’s House District 105, Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson) won her rematch with Democrat Renita Hamilton by 53-47 percent.

Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough), an attorney who won a close contest in this House district two years ago, won another narrow victory at 53-47 percent over Democrat Jim Nichols, a Stockbridge truck loader.

Democrats held on to the House seat in District 132, where Rep. Carl Von Epps (D-LaGrange) decided not to run again. Luthersville attorney Bob Trammell defeated Republican businessman Gene King by 53-47 percent.

Rep. Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City) fended off a challenge from Stacey Jackson, a black Republican attorney from Columbus, winning reelection by 64-36 percent.

Former GOP House member Bob Snelling lost his second close race in a row to Rep. Kimberly Alexander (D-Hiram), who beat him by 53-47 percent in the Douglas County district.

Bill Bozarth, the former executive director of Common Cause Georgia, tried to become the second independent member of the House by running in Atlanta’s House District 54, a seat formerly held by Edward Lindsey. Republican attorney Beth Beskin pulled 59 percent of the vote to beat Bozarth and Democrat Bob Gibeling.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Georgia House , Georgia Senate , partisan lineup , Republican control