Businessman Matt Lieberman (D), the son of former Connecticut Senator and 2000 Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, announced that he will enter the special election for the position from which Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) will be resigning at the end of the year. He is the first individual from either party to declare his candidacy.
Republicans are clearly waiting for Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to appoint Sen. Isakson’s interim successor. The Governor asked people to apply for consideration. Insiders suggest that the two leading prospects are US Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) and House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton).
The appointed Senator will serve through 2020 and is presumed to run to fill the balance of the term in the special election. The special jungle primary is scheduled concurrently with Election Day, November 3, 2020 with a run-off for January 5, 2021 if no candidate receives majority support in the first election.
Freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta), who upset then-Rep. Karen Handel (R-Roswell) in the 6th District 2018 general election, said she will not enter the special US Senate election after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigns and a replacement is appointed. Instead, Ms. McBath says she is committed to her job in the House and will seek re-election. There is a good possibility of a re-match occurring here. Ms. Handel has already announced her intentions to run again, though she will face Republican primary opposition.
As has been speculated upon for several months, former special election congressional candidate Jon Ossoff (D), who raised over $31.6 million for his 6th District losing campaign in 2017, announced that he will run for the US Senate. In a bit of a surprise, however, Mr. Ossoff decided to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R) in the regular election rather than entering the special election against whomever will be the appointed GOP incumbent. Because Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) is resigning at the end of the year due to health problem, both of Georgia’s Senate seats will be on the ballot in 2020.
Already challenging Sen. Perdue is Democratic former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson who has done a good job of attracting early party leader and base support. This makes Ossoff’s decision to run in the Perdue seat all the more curious.
Freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta), who upset GOP Rep. Karen Handel in the 2018 general election, is reportedly considering entering the Senate special election that will be conducted somewhat concurrently with the 2020 election cycle. The calendar will be announced once Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigns at the end of this year, though we already know that the special will be in the form of a jungle primary scheduled concurrently with the regular general election date of November 3, 2020. If no candidate receives a majority, the top two primary finishers will run-off in a January 5, 2021 statewide election.
What remains unclear is whether the candidate filing schedule will be the same as the regular calendar. A different special election filing deadline could possibly mean that Rep. McBath, and anyone else, could run for another office in addition to the Senate race.
Veteran Republican Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) announced yesterday that his deteriorating health condition is forcing him to resign his seat at the end of the year. Sen. Isakson said his Parkinson’s Disease is progressing, and this and further health complications make doing his job as effectively as he wants virtually impossible. His resignation is effective on December 31, 2019.
The development means that Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will appoint a replacement Senator for a year. A special election will be held to fill the balance of the current term, which ends at the beginning of 2023. The special primary will be in a jungle format, that is where all candidates are placed on the same ballot, for a vote on November 3, 2020, concurrent with the regular general election. If no candidate receives majority support the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to a January 5, 2021 special run-off election.
Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) had already drawn a 2020 primary challenger, former Cobb County Democratic Party chairman and 2014 congressional candidate Michael Owens, but now former East Point Mayor Jannquell Peters has also joined the primary campaign. Ms. Peters weekend entry changes the campaign situation.
Instead of Owens going for an unlikely head-to-head win against Rep. Scott in the May 19th primary, the strategy now suggests the pair attempt to force him into a run-off and and then ultimately deny him re-nomination after the qualifier gains the initial momentum from holding the incumbent under 50%. Congressman Scott is still a heavy favorite to win outright in the May primary, but the additional candidate may change the race dynamics.
Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who appears to be the leading Democratic candidate to face first-term Sen. David Perdue (R), has drawn opposition from her ideological left. Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry (D), who campaigns as an unabashed liberal, announced that he, too, will run for the Senate next year. Clarkston is a city of only 7,900 people and lies just outside the eastern 285 loop that stretches around Atlanta.
Sarah Briggs Amico, who was the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor last November and lost 48-52%, is indicating that she will soon enter the 2020 Senate primary. In that contest she will face former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, and likely several others. The eventual party nominee faces an uphill campaign against first-term Sen. David Perdue (R). In late April, 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams said that she would not run for Senate.
State Rep. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), lead sponsor of the Georgia’s heart beat pro-life legislation, announced that she will enter the open Republican primary in the 7th Congressional District. Sen. Unterman is the eighth Republican to announce, but the first elected official. She is vying to replace retiring Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville).
The 2018 race ended in only a 419-vote victory for Rep. Woodall, as he defeated former state Senate Budget Committee staff director Carolyn Bourdeaux (D). She is running again but has already drawn four Democratic primary opponents including state Rep. Brenda Lopez (D-Gwinnett) and former Fulton County Commission chairman John Eaves.
Former Rep. Karen Handel continues to draw Republican opposition. State Sen. Brandon Beach (R) was in the race before Handel, two Navy veterans, Ken Brown and Nicole Rodden, have previously declared, and now construction company owner Marjorie Taylor Greene said yesterday that she, too, will become a congressional candidate.
The eventual winner will face freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta), who unseated Ms. Handel in November. At this point it appears that the former Congresswoman is favored for the nomination, but her competition is formidable and the outcome, at this point, could be in doubt.
Seeing Handel forced into a run-off, and then denied re-nomination in the secondary election is certainly within the realm of possibility. The Georgia state primary is May 19th, with a run-off, if no candidate receives majority support, scheduled for July 21st.
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