The Republican majority in the General Assembly redrew the District 6 boundaries lines that Stoner represents to incorporate the Republican Buckhead area, which could put Stoner at risk in the November general election.
But to get to Stoner, Republicans must first win the Republican primary on July 31, and that could prove their downfall, Pike said.
“Whoever does become the Republican nominee is going to have to run in Buckhead as somebody who’s got to strike a balance as somebody who is pro-Buckhead and whether or not they’re going to be pro- or anti-Milton County,” she said.
Republican leadership would like to carve out north Fulton to create a new county, Milton County, a proposal Stoner opposes. Creating that new county would leave Buckhead paying for more Fulton County expenses, Pike said.
“So it’s going to be very difficult to be pro-Milton County while the people in Buckhead do not want to be the major funding base for Fulton County,” she said.
Pike references Stoner rather than President Barack Obama as job No. 1 this year because it’s the job of the Cobb Democratic Committee to re-elect Democrats on a local level. Even so, she does intend to support Obama and believes he will beat Mitt Romney.
“I think he’s going to beat him like he stole something,” Pike said. “The fact is Romney can’t excite the base, and that’s a problem. As much as I disagreed with her on so many things, Palin at least excited debate until she imploded. And then all of this random stuff comes out of her mouth, and you wonder, did she come up with this by herself?”
While Pike and colleagues will be busy trying to help Stoner, to date they have come up empty on a Democratic candidate for county commission chairman.
“I think the messiness that people saw between (southeast commissioner) Bob Ott and (county chairman) Tim Lee, I don’t know if it necessarily scared people off, but they said that kind of drama is simply not worth it,” Pike said, noting that people “want to work for my community and not to fight with somebody internally, and it seemed like that’s what kept happening over and over again.”
Regarding the controversial July 31 transportation referendum to raise the sales tax by one percent for the next 10 years, Pike said she isn’t taking a position so as to allow the various Democratic candidates flexibility. For instance, she said state Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell) may approach the subject differently than someone in east Cobb.
“They need to answer to their own constituency,” she said.
The idea of answering to the voters who elect politicians gave Pike an opportunity to praise state Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb). Cooper, who identifies as pro-life, recently blasted Georgia Right to Life President Dan Becker for threatening her with political retaliation for not voting the way he instructed.
“I was really proud that she came out and said something,” Pike said. “We’re not always on the same page with everything, but I was really pleased that she came out and said, ‘I’m not their legislator. I represent my constituency, not you.’ And she was appalled that they came back and said, ‘we’re going to get rid of you.’ That to me is so anti-Democratic that they would do that to somebody.
It is outright bulling, and there’s one thing that I can’t tolerate, and it’s a bully.”
An Irish Catholic from Chicago who is fourth generation union, Pike’s party credentials are lifelong. Her father, Jim Snyder, worked for the Proctor & Gamble plant in Chicago before it closed and he was transferred to Albany.
She recalls a childhood celebrating the holidays from Easter to Christmas at the local union hall.
“I’ve been a Democrat since birth,” Pike said. “I was probably 10 years old before I knew there was a divide between the Catholic Church, the union and the Democratic Party.
As such, she grew up being expected to volunteer in soup kitchens on one day while walking the picket lines on another.
Pike earned a degree in political science from Darton College in South Georgia, moving to Marietta in 1998 to work in the sales and customer service division of a major telecommunications company, the name of which she prefers not to mention to avoid bringing it into the political arena.
She is a former vice president of Communication Workers of American Local 3204 and became chair of the Cobb Democratic Committee in November 2010, a two-year term.
She intends to seek re-election.
Pike and her husband, Chip, a deputy with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, live in Marietta and attend Holy Family Catholic Church. They have two rescue dogs, Gozer and Slimer.
Stoner said he’s been happy with Pike’s leadership.
“She’s a very energetic person, very organized and just rolls up her sleeves and gets right to work, so I’m very happy to have her as chairman of our local party, and she’s demonstrated having that position to everyone who is involved in the party,” Stoner said.
Addressing the problem of veterans returning home and not having jobs in which to integrate back into civilian life is one topic she hopes to tackle. Attracting young people to the party is another goal.
“We have a good time in Cobb, and that’s a big priority for me is making people understand that it’s a party again,” she said.
“It’s not just messiness and politics and the ugliness that goes along with it. I want to bring back that family element to where people are comfortable bringing their kids and getting their kids involved and letting their kids see the impact of their civic duty and why it’s important.”
Even though they’re out of power in Georgia, Pike believes it’s a good time to be a Democrat.
“It’s going to become so obvious who is not the problem,” she said. “For all of the years Republicans were not in power they kept saying, ‘See? This is the Democrats that are making it such a problem.’ Well, what have they done to solve those problems? And what new problems have been created as a result?”