Political Notes: May 2014
Gubernatorial Primary Colors: Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, this month’s primary election, coming up on Tuesday, May 20, will see David Pennington, mayor of Dalton, and incumbent State School Superintendent John Barge challenging Gov. Nathan Deal for their party’s nomination for the governor’s office. The winner will face State Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate, an attorney from Decatur and the grandson of former President and former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.
Crowded Field: There’s no shortage of Republicans, several with fairly high profiles, anxious to take over the job being relinquished by retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the state’s senior senator. Congressmen Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, businessman David Perdue (cousin to former Gov. Sonny Perdue), attorney Art Gardner and engineer Derrick E. Grayson are all hoping to challenge the winner of the Democratic primary.
The Democratic field includes nonprofit founder and executive Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, as well as Branko “Rad” Radulovacki, a physician; Steen Miles, a retired journalist; and Todd Anthony Robinson, an educator.
School Chief Race: Nine Republicans have qualified to run in the primary for the state school superintendent race; John Barge is not seeking re-election, having thrown his hat into the ring for the governor’s race.
The Republican candidates are Allen Bowles Fort, Ashley D. Bell, Kira G. Willis, Mary Kay Bacallao, Michael L. “Mike” Buck, Nancy T. Jester, Richard L. Woods, Sharyl H. Dawes and T. Fitz Johnson.
Democratic primary candidates are Alisha Thomas Morgan, Jurita Forehand Mays, Marion Spencer, “Denise” Freeman, R. “Rita” Robinzine, Tarnisha L. Dent and Valerie D. Wilson.
Insurance Commissioner Contest: Republican incumbent Ralph Hudgens has no primary opposition, but two Democrats are running for the right to challenge him in November: Elizabeth N. “Liz” Johnson, Statesboro, and Keith G. Heard, Fayetteville.
Waiting For November: Four statewide races will have no primary action. Incumbent Republicans have no opposition, and only one Democratic challenger has qualified in each race. Here’s how they will square off in the general election in November.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will run against Democrat Connie Stokes, from Atlanta.
Attorney General Sam Olens, running for his second term, will face Democrat Greg Hecht, a Stockbridge attorney.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler is being challenged by Democrat Robbin Shipp, from Atlanta.
Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, seeking a second term, will go up against Democrat Christopher James Irvin, from Toccoa, grandson of longtime agriculture commissioner Tommy Irvin.
Libertarian Slate: The Libertarian Party of Georgia’s 2014 slate of candidates includes Andrew Hunt, running for governor; Amanda Swafford, running for the U.S. Senate; and Aaron Gilmer, a candidate for the Public Service Commission’s District 4 seat.
In Memoriam: Howard “Bo” Callaway, elected in 1964 as Georgia’s first Republican congressman, died in March. State flags flew at half-staff in his honor.
Callaway served as secretary of the U.S. Army in the 1970s and came close to winning the Georgia governor’s office in 1966. He actually won a plurality of votes, but because no candidate won a majority, state law at the time provided that the General Assembly would select the governor. The Democratically controlled legislature gave the office to Lester Maddox.
Callaway, whose family founded Callaway Gardens, was considered by many to be the guiding spirit of the modern Republican Party in Georgia.
Deal Honored: Gov. Nathan Deal is the 2014 recipient of the Eldridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the University System of Georgia (USG)