Like fellow Kossack(and frequent Elections diarist) poopdogcomedy, I was quite happy to see that Saxby Chambliss annouce that he won't run in 2014, and thus open the seat to the likes of anti-choice zealot Karen Handel or "Todd Akin was right" Phil Gingrey or "Evolution is a lie from the pit of Hell" Paul Broun and thus make it easier to run on what I believe to be the key issue in 2014: Choice. Women's health care is under assault in this country, and Georgia while being a red state is trending demographically towards Democrats much like Virginia did, and North Carolina is still in the process of doing. The next Democratic nominee for President, be they Hillary Rodham Clinton or Joe Biden or someone else would be well-served to have the ground game in Georgia like they had in North Carolina and Virginia.
So for the moment, I am evaluating potential candidates on the Democratic side that Wikipedia mentions as potential and have been floated by the likes of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The five that I am evaluting are: State Senator Jason Carter, grandson of Jimmy Carter; State Rep. Scott Holcomb, an Army veteran that served in Iraq; Vernon Jones, former CEO of DeKalb County and finished second in the 2008 Democratic primary for Senate; Keith Mason, was chief-of-staff to Gov. Zell Miller; and Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta.
Thus below the orange squiggle, I will look at each.
Georgia State Senator Jason Carter represents the 42nd district which is Decatur. He was first elected in a special election in 2010, and will be 39 in 2014. His State Senate campaign page shows that some of Carter's priorites are in Education and Honest Government. Cater is clear in that he believes that investing in Early Childhood Education is one of the smartest investiments in our future that we can make, and he tried to have it so that there was a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists. Carter's voting record shows that he voted no to an abortion ban past 20 weeks(a so-called "fetal pain" bill which is absolute rubbish), and he voted no to exempting "religious employors" from insurance requirements of contraception. On Education, voted no on charter school bills, one would establish a board that would create and regulate charter schools, and treat them as regards to funding like regular schools. Another directly authorizes the state to create charter schools. And in the general GOP dickery department, he voted no to drug testing Welfare recipients, and he voted no to reducing unemployment benefits. Carter got endorsements from environmental groups and from the NRA, which gave him a 92% rating for 2012. One of the environmental groups that endorsed him for State Senate was Georgia Conservation Voters. His voting record would seem to indicate that he is pro-choice, but I don't much other than that. I suppose some progressives won't like the high NRA rating, but I would guess that you have many Georgia Democrats who have a pro-gun record. I would like to hear his thoughts on gun policy if he does decide to run.
Georgia State Representative Scott Holcomb lives in Northlake, Georgia according to Votesmart and was first elected in 2010. The progressive national security group Truman National Security Project details on how Holcomb winning reelection made Georgia Republicans very unhappy. As the article states:
Perhaps with the exception of U.S. Rep John Barrow, Scott was the single biggest trophy Georgia Republicans wanted to harvest on election night. He not only escaped, Holcomb emerged stronger than ever before.Basically, for 2012, the Georgia GOP tried to use redistricting to their advantage by pitting two strong Democratic incumbents against each other and made the House district have a majority of Republicans. But instead there was no primary as the Democrat who would have been his opponent took another job and cleared the way for Holcomb. And then Holcomb did some pretty impressive fundraising and had a great campaign team and he wound up winning with 56% of the vote. Holcomb's service as a military prosecutor and his pro bono work on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were both tremendous assets. They also were successful in defining Holcomb's character in stark contrast to his Republican opponent who was a typical teabagger who didn't really have any significant accomplishments to his name and endorsed such extreme measures as Personhood. Holcomb ran on such things as education and on access to women's health care and he has voted somewhat progressively on those. He voted no to the Charter School commission but voted yes to an amendment authorizing Georgia to create a charter school. On Choice, Holcomb has voted no to an abortion ban after 20 weeks. And of course, he voted no to reducing unemployment benefits and voted no to drug testing of welfare recipients. Holcomb has a 92% rating from the NRA. Holcomb was endorsed by the Georgia Sierra Club. Holcomb was named in October 2012 as one of Georgia Trend's 40 under 40and Holcomb will be 41 in 2014. As was mention in the Truman National Security Project article, Holcomb has close ties with former Senator Max Cleland and Wesley Clark. He would certainly give Democrats a fighting chance if he were the Democratic nominee.
Vernon Jones, an African-American, served in the Georgia House of Representives from 1993 to 2001, and from 2001 to 2009 was the CEO for DeKalb County, Georgia. Jones will be 54 in 2014. Jones is a self-identified conservative Democrat. In 2008, he said that he was in favor of a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as heterosexual only. He also had said that he would have increased donation limits to candidates, something which Citizens United has made sort of moot, but it is important to know where he stood. I can't really fault him for wanting to make Election Day a national holiday(which would be a great idea). Jones also was very gun rights orientated, wanting to end restrictions on purchasing and possessing guns. On taxes, Jones wanted to permanently end the estate tax and wanted it to be required to balance the federal budget. To Jones's credit, he is pro-choice. Given Jones's controversies(see the wikipedia article) and his general corporatist attitude, I don't see Democratic activists coming together behind him. I am pretty sure that the LGBT community would not support him given Jones's long history of being against marriage equality.
Keith Mason currently works as an attorney for McKenna, Long & Aldridge. The University of Georgia Library page has a biography of Mason. Mason will be 54 in 2014. Mason has a long history with Zell Miller, who is a former governor and former Senator and is a "Fox News Democrat" who also works for McKenna, Long & Aldridge. As UGA's page notes:
In 1988, Mason worked for Miller as a fundraiser for his 1990 gubernatorial campaign and then became the campaign manager for Miller’s successful run against Andrew Young in the Democratic primary and Johnny Isakson in the general election. Mason was appointed Miller’s Executive Secretary and was responsible for advising the governor on legislation and overall strategy.Of course, Miller was less of anti-choicer and other such things in the 90s. In 1993, Mason went to work for the Clinton administration as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs where he helped to encourage a good working relationship between the Clinton administration and governors. He stayed at that job until 1995. Mason also has ties to another former Georgia Senator: Sam Nunn. When Mason was in law school, he was the chairman of Nunn's youth organization and he also worked on Nunn's 1978 and 1984 campaigns. Nunn is now with Fix the Debt, which is still trying to shove austerity down our throats. A Politico article mentions that some prominent Georgia Democrats are looking at recruiting Mason to run. I wouldn't be surprised if those Demcorats were Miller and Nunn, and given how Miller once said in 2005 that the Supreme Court "removed prayer from our public schools … legalized the barbaric killing of unborn babies and it is ready to discard like an outdated hula hoop the universal institution of marriage between a man and a woman." and Nunn wanting to raise the Social Security retirement age, I really don't want Miller and Nunn to have any influence on how gets to run. I have no idea where Mason would stand on the important issues, but I would likely guess that he is a Third Way democrat
The current Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed was elected in 2009, and had previous served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1998 to 2002 and in the Georgia State Senate from 2003 to 2009. Reed will be 45 in 2014. Reed has recently evolved on the issue of marriage equality. He is now for it, a change from 2009 when he only supported civil unions. I cannot really find much on Reed's own views on choice, but he did vote no to a bill requiring an ultrasound before an abortion while he was a State Senator. His ratings while he was in the state legislature indicate that he has good environmental ratings, high Liberal scores and the NRA doesn't like him, so he's got that going for him. I am unsure if Reed is like Cory Booker in his approach: socially liberal, but generally favorable to corporations. Thomas Friedman praising Reed for limiting city pensions is a bit of a red flag. Reed is the only one of the potential five that is known not to be cozy with the NRA so those who want a better gun policy could support Reed.
I would like to see if any women are likely to run. On various sites, I've seen people say that they want Shirley Franklin, who was the Mayor of Atlanta before Reed was or I've seen Nan Orrock's name floated. Orrock is a State Senator who is very much pro-choice. I am sure that there are other qualified women that could run too(I was looking at a whole bunch of pro-choice women who are in the state legislature. Some of them could be potentially great when Georgia becomes a blue state).