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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mary Squires launches bid for insurance commish

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Does the name above seem vaguely familiar but you can't recall why? That's because, if you voted in the 2004 Democratic primary, you saw Squires' name on the ballot at the end of a list of eight candidates for U.S. Senate.

At the time, Squires, then 46, had served less than one term in the state Senate after three tours of duty in the House. Despite her political experience, a shoe-leather campaign in which went door-to-door across the state,  and a weak slate of opponents, Squires got clobbered. Receiving only 9 percent of the vote, She came in fifth behind U.S. Rep. Denise Majette (who'd claimed God told her to run), self-funded businessman Cliff Oxford, a little-known Vinings attorney and a perennial candidate who didn't bother to campaign.

Well, Squires is back, baby. She'll kick off her new campaign for insurance commissioner at The Loft music venue in the CW Midtown complex tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. Despite five years out of the spotlight, she seems to have maintained her political connections. Joining her on the podium as special guest is former Sen. Max Cleland, and her host committee boasts numerous state legislators, including Reps. Stephanie Stuckey Benfiel, Karla Drenner and Joe Heckstal; and Sens. Emanuel Jones, Doug Stoner and Curt Thompson.

This time out, Squires is much better positioned to make it through next June's primary. For starters, she has only one declared opponent so far, state Rep. Keith Heard, D-Athens. And, unlike several of the Republicans going for the job, she's an insurance industry veteran, serving as executive director of the Georgia Society of Professional Benefit Administrators, a trade and lobbying organization. (Heard, too, it should be noted, has worked in insurance.)

If you decide to join Max and the gang in welcoming Squires back to politics, remember that a contribution of $150 is "suggested," so don't show up empty-handed expecting to hit the hors d'oeuvre tray.

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