Political Notes – Republicans will move to stop Democratic poaching

[private]The results of Tuesday’s special elections that saw Democrats grab three Republican-held legislative seats are already prompting GOP lawmakers to propose changes in the state’s election laws.

Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), a candidate for secretary of state, said Thursday he’ll introduce legislation that would end Georgia’s “jungle primary” ballots in special elections to fill vacated offices.

State law requires all special election candidates to run on the same ballot regardless of party designation.

In the Senate District 6 special election to replace Hunter Hill, there were five Republican candidates and three Democrats on the ballot. The Republicans split up the vote enough to keep any of them from making it into the runoff against Democrats Jen Jordan and Jaha Howard.

“We saw again Tuesday how unjust current Georgia law is regarding special elections,” McKoon said. “Even though a clear majority of voters in SD 6 chose Republican candidates, those voters will be unrepresented in the December runoff.”

McKoon said he is drafting a bill that would require party primaries to be held in special elections and prevent a situation where two candidates from the same party are in a runoff.

The Senate seat had been in Republican hands since 2013, but it nevertheless is one of Georgia’s most competitive legislative districts.

Republican legislative leaders have also indicated they will redraw the lines of two Athens-area House seats that flipped from Republican to Democratic control on Tuesday. Democrats Deborah Gonzalez and Jonathan Wallace won surprise victories in House Districts 117 and 119.

They have a vehicle in HB 515, a redistricting bill that carried over from the last session to next year’s session. HB 515 was intended to protect Republicans in shaky districts like Rep. Rich Golick and Rep. Joyce Chandler, but it could be amended to include the Athens House seats as well.

Williams blames Hill for loss

Sen. Michael Williams (R-Cumming) blames Hill for the loss of the seat in Senate District 6, where Hill resigned to run fulltime for governor.

“Rather than following through with his commitment to serve out the remainder of his term, Hunter Hill abandoned his Senate seat so that he could continue receiving contributions from Atlanta donors while seeking higher office,” said Williams, also a candidate for governor.

“His decision to put himself, and his political career, ahead of his constituents has harmed the conservative cause in Georgia,” Williams said. “Because of this defeat, Georgia Republicans have lost the Senate Super Majority.

Hill said through a spokesman that the Senate District 6 residents deserved to have a senator who was not running for statewide office and could concentrate full time on the needs of the district.

“Williams’ false attacks, desperate publicity stunts, and press conference flops are beneath the dignity of the office he is seeking,” said Cody Hall. “The people of Forsyth County deserve better and the people of Georgia certainly deserve better in their next governor.”

Alcon expands

Alcon, a manufacturing company and a division of Novartis, will spend $97 million in the Johns Creek area to expand its production of contact lenses.

“Since beginning our growth project four years ago, Alcon has invested nearly $600 million, created several hundred new jobs, expanded the size of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility by more than 70,000 square feet and added new production lines that leverage cutting-edge technology,” said Shay Foley, general manager of Alcon Johns Creek Manufacturing and Technology Operations.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Alcon , Hunter Hill , Josh McKoon , jungle primaries , Michael Williams