The series of races was set off when Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced he would not run for re-election next year and 11th District U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey jumped into that race. Now Loudermilk is in a six-way race for the seat being vacated by Gingrey.
The Secretary of State’s office, when contacted by the Cherokee Tribune on Thursday, seemed unclear on whether Loudermilk had resigned, and once that was figured out, there continued to be confusion on how to get the special election off and running at the state level.
So far, only one candidate from Cherokee County has definitely waded into the race that has also attracted two from Bartow County.
With such a short window for campaigning, Loudermilk’s resignation has thrown conventional political strategy a curve and made anything possible in the race.
Since redistricting last year and the exit of Sen. Chip Rogers from the playing field, Cherokee County has not had a senator who actually lives in the county at the state Capitol.
While Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) is providing solid representation to his constituents in Cherokee, it would be a plus to have our other senator actually live in the community.
Cherokee County has not had a U.S. congressman who lives here for decades and has had trouble over the years wrangling even a state Senate seat. In a county of 220,000-plus residents, that seems out of sync.
Cherokee County has one sure candidate set to jump into the District 14 race and one who is still eyeing the opportunity.
Former Cherokee County educator Dwight Pullen said he was already planning a run for the seat next year when Loudermilk would have left, and now is eager to get going on his campaign.
Pullen was serving as Chattooga County school superintendent until 2011, and prior to that was a principal at several schools in Cherokee County.
Troy Welker, who moved to Cherokee from Cobb a couple of years ago, is still considering whether to jump into the race now that another candidate from here has emerged.
Welker had said he might not go forward if someone else chose to run from Cherokee.
Earlier names that were bandied about included Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood and County Commissioner Jason Nelms, but neither is expected to enter the race.
The Senate race will be decided by who decides to go out to the polls for a special election.
LOUDERMILK didn’t mince words about what he labeled his three major opponents in the race when he spoke to the Tribune’s flagship newspaper’s editorial board this week.
Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr? “He’s lacking in consistency on the issues. Like with the Defense of Marriage Act. He wrote it. Then he was against it. Now I’m not sure where he is on it.”
Georgia House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey? “He’s not a conservative … too moderate,” Loudermilk said.
Businesswoman Tricia Pridemore, former head of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development? “She’s a bureaucrat. … She doesn’t have much of a track record.”
Who he failed to mention is Woodstock resident and retired Army Col. Larry Mrozinski, who has backing from Canton City Councilman Jack Goodwin, among others. While Mrozinski might lack name recognition in Cobb, he is attracting quite a few backers in Cherokee and could prove to be a dark horse in the race.
Right now, it is who can get into a runoff for the seat next year.
UP OR OUT: Lindsey of Buckhead has clarified his earlier remarks about his future in the state Legislature, saying it’s “up or out.”
When Loudermilk announced last week that he was resigning, that brought an emailed retort from Lindsey to his supporters, headlined “I Will Not Abandon Georgia” and saying he did not plan to resign.
However, following comments that if Lindsey’s congressional hopes failed to pan out he could continue in the Legislature, where he is the powerful House minority whip, he responded with the following.
“While I am staying in the House to finish out my commitment to my constituents in my House seat and not burden them with the cost of a special election, I am totally committed to my Congressional race and there is no going back after the election. My State House term is up in 2014 so there is no hedging of my bets. In effect, for me it is up or out next summer in the primary — and I have every intention to move up.”
LINDSEY, who spent last weekend at the U.S. Military Academy watching as his son and his classmates at West Point received their class rings, is sharply critical of Obama’s push to bomb Syria. For starters, it’s hard to see any side in the conflict that we would consider a friend or ally, he said.
“The Syrian government is propped up by Iran, Russia and Hezbollah,” he said. “The dominant rebels are supported by Al Qaeda. Both sides are locked into a desperate fight to the death understanding in the end it is either victory or annihilation. Given that fact, it is difficult to see how a weak limited response will have any impact on the players in this civil war, and a strong long term military intervention will risk young American lives in a no win conflict far more daunting than Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Vietnam.
“Waging war is the most serious action any government can undertake. It must not be entered into rashly, to save face, or with vague ambiguous goals — and yet that is exactly what President Obama is asking Congress to approve. The young men and women in uniform we will ask to wage this battle deserve better.”
LOUDERMILK says he plans to stay out of the race between Gov. Nathan Deal and new challenger Dr. John Barge of Smyrna, the state school superintendent. But he noted that he was the first legislator to endorse Deal during the governor’s successful race in 2010.
Cherokee County continues to be attractive as a place to stump for votes for statewide elections, and that will probably be more apparent than ever as we move into the 2014 elections.