Political Notes: May 2016
Raises For State Employees: The General Assembly passed a record $23.7-billion state budget, reflecting better economic times, that includes funds for 3 percent raises for most state employees, teachers, school bus drivers and cafeteria workers. For most, this is the first pay increase since the recession.
Some state workers will receive more than 3 percent: public health nurses will see a 9 percent salary bump, and some law enforcement officers, including state patrol officers, will see a 6 percent increase.
The budget also includes funding to hire new teachers and 200 new caseworkers in the Department of Human Resources.
General Primary Coming Up: Georgia voters will cast ballots for federal, state and local officials on Tuesday, May 24. Runoff date is Tuesday, July 26, and the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
U.S. Senate Race: Georgia’s senior senator, Republican Johnny Isakson, has two Republican challengers in the upcoming primary: Derrick Grayson, Redan, and Mary Kay Bacallao, Fayetteville.
Four Democrats are competing for the opportunity to run in the general election against the Republican primary victor. They are Cheryl Copeland, Hiram; Jim Barksdale, Atlanta; John F. Coyne III, Atlanta; and James Knox.
No Contest: Three incumbent Georgia congressmen have no opposition in this month’s primary – not from their own party or the party across the aisle. District 1 Republican Buddy Carter, District 10 Republican Jody Hice and District 13 Democrat David Scott will all serve another term in Congress with no need to campaign.
No Primary Opposition: District 4 Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson has no Democratic opposition in the primary, but he will face Republican Victor Armendariz, Chamblee, in the November general election.
District 5 Democratic Rep. John Lewis has no opposition in his primary; Republican Douglas Bell, Atlanta, will run against Lewis in November.
In District 7, Republican Rep. Rob Woodall has no primary challenger, but he will face Democrat Rashid Malik in November.
Crowded GOP Field: District 2 Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop has no Democrat running against him, but three Republicans are vying to challenge him in November. They are Bobby Scott, Columbus; Diane Vann, Macon; and Greg Duke, Leesburg.
No Incumbent Running: Long-time District 3 Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland is not running for re-election, but the primary has drawn two Democratic candidates, Angela Pendley, Grantville, and Tamarkus Cook. On the Republican side, there are seven candidates: Chip Flanegan, Jonesboro; Drew Ferguson, West Point; Jim Pace, Peachtree City; and Mike Crane, Arnall “Rod” Thomas, Richard Mix and Samuel Anders, all from Newnan.
More Challenges and Challengers: In District 6, incumbent Republican Tom Price will face Democrat Rodney Stooksbury in the general election.
In District 8, incumbent Republican Austin Scott is being challenged by fellow Republican Angela Hicks, Macon. The winner will face Democrat James Neal Harris, Gray, in November.
District 9 incumbent Republican Doug Collins has four GOP primary challengers: Bernie Fontaine, Suches; Mike Scupin, Cumming; former Congressman Paul C. Broun, Gainesville; and Roger Fitzpatrick, Cleveland. There are no Democrats running.
District 11 incumbent Republican Barry Loudermilk has drawn four Republican challengers: Billy Davis, Kennesaw; William Llop, Sandy Springs; Daniel Cowan, Kennesaw, and Hayden Collins, Woodstock. The winner will face Democrat Don Wilson, Marietta, in November.
District 12 incumbent Republican Rick Allen has one opponent in his party’s primary: Eugene Yu, Evans. Two candidates are running on the Democratic side: Joyce Nolin, Evans; and Tricia Carpenter McCracken, Augusta.
District 14 incumbent Republican Tom Graves has two GOP opponents: Allan Levene, Rome, and Mickey Tuck, Silver Creek. There is no Democratic opposition.
PSC Challengers: District 2 Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols has primary opposition from two fellow Republicans, Kellie Pollard Austin, Lawrenceville, and Michelle Miller, Warner Robins, but no Democrats.