GOP’s Van Ness grabs Democratic Senate seat

[private]Republicans pulled off a major upset Tuesday by poaching a state Senate seat that had long been held by Democrats.

In the special election in Senate District 43, Republican JaNice Van Ness edged out Democrat Tonya Anderson to win the seat by a margin of 87 votes.

Van Ness’ victory was a stunner because the suburban Atlanta district – which includes portions of DeKalb, Rockdale and Newton counties – is about 60 percent black and voted 71 percent for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

But Van Ness, the chair of the Rockdale Republican Party and a former county commissioner there, ran up just enough of a margin in her home county to offset Anderson’s performance in winning DeKalb and Newton counties.

Republicans already held more than a two-thirds majority in the Georgia Senate with 38 seats to 18 for the Democrats. The Van Ness victory ups that Senate advantage to 39-17.

In another Senate special election, Houston County insurance agent Larry Walker III appeared to be the winner in Middle Georgia’s Senate District 20, where Ross Tolleson resigned for medical reasons.

In a crowded field of six candidates, Walker had amassed more than 52 percent of the vote with most of the precincts reporting. If that percentage holds up, he will have won without the necessity of a Dec. 29 runoff.

In House District 122 in Columbia County, registered nurse Jodi Lott clobbered attorney Mack Taylor, a former county commissioner, to win the special election runoff to replace Ben Harbin.

Lott pulled 76 percent of the vote to easily defeat Taylor.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report


Tags: General Assembly , special elections