• GA-06: GOP state Rep. Chuck Martin has ruled out running for this suburban Atlanta seat in the likely special election to succeed Rep. Tom Price, Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services. So far, state Sen. Judson Hill remains the only notable Republican in the race.
However, ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel, who lost the 2010 runoff for governor and 2014 Senate primary, has said to “[w]atch for a formal announcement early in the new year,” and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that she’s “widely expected to join the race.” The AJC also says that ex-state Sen. Dan Moody is likely to get in. State Rep. Betty Price, who is Tom Price’s wife, said last month that it was “premature” to decide on a bid until there’s officially a special election. The AJC also wrote a little while ago that Betty Price would likely defer to Handel, though no one has said anything like that publicly. The paper also reported on Monday that state Sen. Brandon Beach is believed to be leaning against jumping in.
Donald Trump only carried this seat 48-47 four years after Mitt Romney won it 61-38, and Democrats could take it if the stars align. However, Team Blue’s first task in the special election will be to make sure they actually have a candidate in the runoff. As we’ve noted before, all candidates from all parties will run together on a single ballot in the special election, with the top two vote-getters advancing to a runoff in the likely event no one takes a majority in the first round. Four Democrats are running, with former congressional aide Jon Ossoff and ex-state Rep. Sally Harrell sporting the most support from local elected officials. Democrats would benefit if a few more Republicans get in the race, which would reduce the chances that two Republicans advance while too many Democrats split the blue vote.
• Atlanta, GA Mayor: State Sen. Vincent Fort was one of Bernie Sanders’ most prominent Georgia supporters during least year’s Democratic presidential primary, and the Vermont senator is returning the favor. On Saturday, Sanders endorsed Fort in this fall’s non-partisan race.
Sanders lost Fulton County, which contains most of Atlanta, 71-29, so his support may not be worth many votes for Fort. But if Sanders’ massive donor list helps Fort fill up his campaign coffers, Fort won’t complain. Sanders’ Saturday endorsement came just before the legislative session began on Monday. Until the sessions ends in late March or early April, Fort is forbidden from raising money, so whatever cash Sanders brought in for him over the weekend will be all his campaign gets for a while.
Fort is a vocal critic of termed-out Mayor Kasim Reed, who is also a Democrat, and the mayor also appears ready to choose sides in the crowded race. Reed recently sent a message to his email list with an invitation to a Jan. 26 fundraiser for City Councilor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The invitation didn’t include Reed’s name on it, but it’s very unlikely he blasted it out just for kicks.