Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Qualifying: Day 1

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM

The opening day for qualifying is always the most exciting because it brings out the serious challengers and candidates for open seats. The idea is to get your name down ASAP in order to scare away potential opponents. There are usually a handful of stragglers who wait until the last moment – which in this case is Friday at noon – but most of the serious contenders use qualifying as a way to serve notice that they now want your money.

That said, let's see who picked up opposition on Monday, starting with the state Senate:

  • We gave Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, a coveted Arnie award for courageously fighting a losing battle to keep developers from turning Jekyll Island into a floating strip mall. He's being challenged by a fellow Brunswick Republican, Terry Carter, who is – surprise! – a developer.
  • Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, has picked up opposition from 72-year-old Betty Aaron, a Palmetto Democrat who served a few years in the House during the '80s.
  • Sen. Nancy Schaefer, R-Turnerville, has apparently adopted a strategy of confusing potential opponents. First, she was going to run for Congress, then she announced her retirement, then she gave word she was running for re-election to her Senate seat. Her website still says she's running for Congress – or maybe she's changed her mind again. Anyway, it appears the strategy hasn't worked; she now has two GOP challengers, Jim Butterworth of Cornelia and Terry Rogers of Clarkesville.
  • Sen. Dan Moody, R-Alpharetta, has Democratic opposition from Akhtar Sadiq, a Roswell business consultant.

Lots more activity on the House side:

  • Rep. Ron Forster, R-Ringgold, won a Golden Sleaze award for penning the dumbest bill of the past year, a measure to rent out state inmates to military contractors in Baghdad. We hear conflicting info on whether he's re-upping, but so far, he has two GOP challengers, Bob Jenkins of Dalton and Tom Weldon Jr. of Ringgold.
  • GOP Rep. Matt Dollar, East Cobb's own good-time party boy, is being challenged by Democrat RuthE Levy of Marietta, an Air Force veteran and grandmother last seen running for state Senate.
  • Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, has opposition from Democratic physician Chris Cameron of Atlanta.
  • After serving 32 years in the Statehouse, Rep. Bob Holmes, D-Atlanta, is finally retiring. Seeking his seat are Democrats Ralph Long III, a real estate broker; Tony M.L. McCann, a teacher; and the feisty Keisha Waites, who has unsuccessfully run for both the Atlanta City Council and Fulton Commission.
  • Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague, D-Red Oak, who also earned a Golden Sleaze award for claiming a suspiciously large mileage reimbursement, has three Democratic challengers: 71-year-old community activist Sandra Hardy and retiree Woody Holmes, both of Fairburn; and businessman Charles Sharper of Atlanta.
  • Lining up to succeed Rep. Stan Watson, D-Decatur, who's running for DeKalb CEO, are teacher Rita Robinzine and businessman Byron Wilson, both of Ellenwood; and real estate broker Rahn Mayo of Decatur. All are young Democrats and, we believe, first-time political candidates.
  • So far, two of DeKalb's three House Republicans have Democratic opposition. Rep. Mike Jacobs, who last ran with a "D" behind his name, faces businessman Keith Gross, and Rep. Jill Chambers faces businesswoman Cecilia Hailey.
  • Surprisingly, Rep. Ron Sailor's career move into prison has only brought forth one potential successor so far, psychotherapist Jim Sendelbach of Conyers, who is running as a Democrat, although he previously ran for Congress as a Libertarian.
  • Rep. Bobby Reese, R-Sugar Hill, is another recent Golden Sleaze laureate for his resolution urging Congress to repeal the 14th Amendment. We can only hope we served in some small way to encourage his GOP challenger, businessman David Hancock of Suwanee.

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