Habitat - March/April 2018 - 16

MARCH / APRIL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS REPORT

The Race Begins for New State Leadership
KATIE ROBERTS - FIVEASH STANLEY

J

ust last week, hopeful characters from all across the state descended
on the Capitol to register with the Democratic or Republican Party as an
official candidate for public office during the 2018 election cycle.
Qualifying used to be relatively procedural. It would take place in
late April, almost always after the legislature had adjourned and when
the Capitol had returned to a comparatively quiet, administrative pace.
Now, qualifying takes place in early March, when the legislature is
sure to be in session. This means that in addition to the noise and chaos
associated with hundreds of people at the Capitol during the frenetic
waning days of session, you also have political rivals eyeing each other.
It's easy to see how legislators can be tempted to shift their attention
from policy to politics.
That is especially true for the 2018 election cycle. It's the first time
in two decades that so many constitutional offices have been vacant,
including the post for Governor, Lt. Governor, Insurance Commissioner
and Secretary of State. The vacancies have created opportunity for
those with ambitions for higher office, from state legislators all the way
down to local city councils and county commissions.
The vacancies aren't the only thing making 2018 unique. Democrats
- who don't occupy any of the state's constitutional offices and hold
a minority of seats in both the House and Senate - are emboldened
by national politics and election trends. During Special Elections in
Georgia last fall, Democrats flipped three seats in the state legislature.
At the time of this writing, Democrats comprised more than half of
candidates who have pre-filed to run in the House and Senate with
the State Ethics Commission, indicating that more Democrats are
likely to qualify for races than have in recent years. While none of
this necessarily translates to results in elections, it certainly gives
Republican leadership in the legislature incentive to wrap up the session
quickly. They need to get home and resuming campaigning too.
One particular leader in the legislature - Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
- may be motivated to adjourn regardless of Democrats' potential
groundswell. Cagle is one of a half-dozen Republicans seeking the
Governor's mansion and is prohibited from soliciting campaign
contributions while the legislature is in session.

Other Republicans who've indicated they intend to run include
Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former state Senator Hunter Hill,
businessman and Navy SEAL Clay Tippins and state Senator Michael
Williams. Democrats for Governor include former state legislators
Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans.
State Senator David Shafer, who stepped down his leadership
position as the Senate's second-ranking member at the beginning of
this session, is running for Lt. Governor. Two other former legislators,
who resigned from the legislature altogether, are also running in the
Republican Primary: Geoff Duncan and Rick Jeffares. Democrats are
expected to choose between Triana James and Sarah Riggs Amico.
With incumbent Ralph Hudgens impending retirement, there
will also be a new commissioner elected to lead the Department of
Insurance this fall. Based on pre-qualifying filings, Cindy Zeldin,
a health advocate, will run against fellow Democrats Tomeka
Kimbrough and Janice Laws. On the Republican side, deputy
commissioner Jay Florence is seeking to replace his boss, competing in
May against Jim Beck, Tracy Jordan, and Shane Mobley.
The last of the high-profile vacant constitutional posts is the office
of Secretary of State. The Republican Primary will likely ask voters
to select between David Bell Isle, Buzz Brockway, Josh McKoon and
Brad Raffensperger. The Democrat field is comprised of former US
Congressman John Barrow and rounded out by Dee Dawkins-Haigler
and Rakeim Hadley.
While House and Senate seats are divided into 236 different
districts and remain fairly local affairs, candidates for constitutional
offices are elected statewide. Naturally, they'll also campaign
statewide so you're likely to hear, see and receive advertisements from
the front runners as the May 22 Primary approaches and then again
leading up to the November 6 General Election.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by today's seemingly endless election
cycles, but 2018 really is a good time to tune in, get educated about the
candidates and and get out to vote!

Important Upcoming Election Dates
April 24 - Voter registration deadline
May 22 - Primary Election
July 24 - Primary Runoff Election
To register to vote, visit the Online Voter Registration System at www.registertovote.sos.ga.gov
16 | H A B I T A T | w w w.atl-apt.org


http://www.registertovote.sos.ga.gov http://www.atl-apt.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Habitat - March/April 2018

Chair's Message
Legal Corner
Getting Engaged in Government Affairs
Government Affairs
AAA Makes a Difference on Local Issues
Education Connection
Curb Appeal
Workforce Development Update
Volunteer's Corner
AAA Gold Patron Member Profile: PDQ Services
New Members
Advertising Index
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Intro
Habitat - March/April 2018 - cover1
Habitat - March/April 2018 - cover2
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 3
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 4
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 5
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 6
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 7
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 8
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Chair's Message
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Legal Corner
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 11
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Getting Engaged in Government Affairs
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 13
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 14
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 15
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Government Affairs
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 17
Habitat - March/April 2018 - AAA Makes a Difference on Local Issues
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 19
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Education Connection
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Curb Appeal
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 22
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 23
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 24
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Workforce Development Update
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Volunteer's Corner
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 27
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 28
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 29
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 30
Habitat - March/April 2018 - AAA Gold Patron Member Profile: PDQ Services
Habitat - March/April 2018 - 32
Habitat - March/April 2018 - New Members
Habitat - March/April 2018 - Advertising Index
Habitat - March/April 2018 - cover3
Habitat - March/April 2018 - cover4
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