Political Notes — Qualifying set for Judson Hill’s Senate seat

[private]Secretary of State Brian Kemp said a special election will be held April 18 to fill the state Senate District 32 seat that was recently vacated by Judson Hill.

Qualifying for the special election will start at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and conclude at 1 p.m. Friday.

Hill, who had just started his seventh term in the state Senate, resigned on Monday to qualify for the April 18 special election to fill the 6th Congressional District seat that was vacated by Tom Price.

State Senate District 32 includes portions of Cobb and Fulton counties, and Hill lives in the Cobb portion of the district.

Porter, Williams back Perez for DNC chair

State Democratic Party Chairman DuBose Porter and Vice Chair Nikema Williams said Friday they are endorsing Tom Perez for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

Perez, an assistant attorney general and labor secretary in the Barack Obama administration, is one of several candidates competing for the chairmanship, among them U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota.

Porter and Williams said in a joint statement:

As a member of the Obama administration, Secretary Perez led the charge to restore and expand the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice, notably prosecuting the first cases under the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act and expanding hate crimes protections to include women and the LGBTQ community. As Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez fought for American workers on paid leave, overtime rules, and a fair living wage.

Of note, Secretary Perez has made a commitment to the return of the fifty state strategy strengthening the Democratic Party from the ground up by strengthening state parties, recently using Georgia’s victories in Cobb and Gwinnett as examples.

Where’s Sally?

Sally Harrell did everything that someone running for Congress would normally do, including announce her candidacy and set up a campaign website.

But when the time came to actually qualify for the April 18 election in the 6th Congressional District, the former legislator from DeKalb County was nowhere to be found.

Harrell said this about her decision not to run:

“The special election timeline is moving fast, and another Democratic candidate was able to utilize Washington connections to raise very large sums of money extremely quickly. Put simply, our campaign cannot compete, and to move forward at this point would not be a test of message, but of money. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of my party and the progressive cause to not compete in the special election this spring.”

She was evidently referring to Jon Ossoff, a former congressional aide to Rep. John Lewis who has received Lewis’ endorsement and a $550,000 financial commitment from the left-leaning website, Daily Kos.

Democrats have been talking about the possibility of poaching the 6th District seat because Donald Trump only defeated Hillary Clinton by a 48-47 percent margin there in the presidential election.

With 11 GOP candidates on the ballot to split up the Republican vote, it would seem that a Democrat might have a chance of making it into a runoff if the party could unite behind him.

But that may not happen in this race because even with Harrell’s withdrawal, there were still four Democrats who qualified: Ossoff, former state senator Ron Slotin, and two political unknowns, Ragin Edwards and Rebecca Quigg.

That many Democrats on the ballot conceivably could split the party’s vote to the point where no Democrat advances to a runoff. And that has party officials worried.

“The key to being competitive in this race for Democrats was narrowing the field,” said state party Vice Chair Nikema Williams in a Facebook posting. “It’s now extremely difficult to get the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and other national groups to see this race as competitive and make a serious investment with 4 Democrats running.”

“In a special election, with no primary, splitting the Democratic vote hurts our chances of winning tremendously,” Williams added. “Maybe a few of the Democratic candidates will decide to step aside for the greater good.”

Woodall is OK with Trump and Russia

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, a Gwinnett County Republican, hasn’t held a live town hall event recently but he did open himself up to questions this week in a telephone call-in town hall discussion.

In the midst of some contentious exchanges with constituents, Woodall revealed that he likes the idea of Donald Trump fostering a warmer relationship with Russia, which traditionally has been an American adversary.

As reported by Curt Yeomans in the Gwinnett Daily Post:

The congressman defended Trump’s approach to handling Russia, which is opposite of the strained relationship former President Barack Obama’s administration had with that country and its leader, Vladimir Putin.

“What I love about the outsiders that have taken over the White House is that it gives us the ability to look at the world through new eyes,” Woodall said. “I think one of the ways President Trump looks at the world through different eyes is ‘Why are we still fighting with Russia 40 years later?’”

That prompted the crowd shout in response to the congressman, including one person shouting out that he was a “stooge.”

Attendees then quieted down just as Woodall said, “Why is it that we have an adversarial relationship with Russia where we don’t have one with other nations?”

The congressman also said he was “not naive” about the situation between the U.S. and Russia, and that he wanted to know what happened in conversations between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and a Russian ambassador in December.

Macon judicial appointment

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Macon attorney David L. Mincey III as a Superior Court judge in the Macon Judicial Circuit. Mincey replaces Tripp Self, who was recently appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Mincey has a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and a law degree from Mercer University.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: 6th Congressional District race , DNC chairmanship , Macon judicial appointment , Rob Woodall , State Senate special election