Topping the Democratic ballot May 20 will be the race for U.S. Senator to replace the retiring Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie). Democrats have united behind a political newcomer with an “old” political name: Nunn.
Michelle Nunn has never run for office before, but she is the daughter of legendary U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Perry). She has already shown a Midas touch when it comes to fundraising. And with most of her party already united behind her, she has the luxury of running as a moderate in the primary, rather than having to compete for votes from the most liberal wing of her party.
That race also features another political newcomer, this one from Vinings in Cobb County: Dr. Branko “Rad” Radulovacki. His story is an inspirational one: growing up in communist Yugoslavia, coming to this country at age 7, becoming a physician and psychologist. He has bachelor degrees in economics and Russian from Amherst College, an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago, a medical degree from the University of Illinois and completed his psychiatry residency at Yale. As this newspaper’s “Around Town” column noted last June, were he to win election to the Senate, he would raise the cumulative IQ of that body by several points all by himself.
But such a win is not looking likely at this point, with most Democrats bedazzled by Nunn’s name and seeing her as the best chance to win a seat that is edging toward the “competitive” column for Democrats due to demographic changes in recent years. Indeed, Nunn does represent the Democrats’ best chance to recapture the seat the Republicans have held since Chambliss’s upset of Max Cleland in 2002.
13TH DISTRICT U.S. Rep. David Scott of Atlanta, whose district includes most of Cobb south of Marietta, is seeking another term and has one little-known primary challenger, Michael Owens. Scott is one of the most liberal members of the Georgia delegation and is a dependable vote for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But he is a steady supporter of Lockheed Martin, one of Cobb’s biggest employers; and his long tenure on Capitol Hill cannot be overlooked.
DEMOCRATS, like the Republicans, have a crowded field seeking the nomination for state School superintendent. And their best choice is Alisha Thomas Morgan of Austell. Morgan has spent the past decade in the state Legislature, where she has paid special attention to education issues and has not been afraid to take unpopular stands. That’s a quality that would serve her well as super, where she would be confronted by and have to preside over one of the state’s biggest and most ossified bureaucracies.
TWO legislative races in particular should be of special interest to local Democrats. State Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta, Powder Springs) is the longest-serving member of that body, having first been elected in 1990. And he’s also one of the most effective, even considering that his party is now in the minority there. He knows the issues inside and out and, even more important, knows how to work with people. Cobb and District 33 need Thompson back in the Senate.
Meanwhile, state Rep. David Wilkerson (D-South Cobb) embodies many of the same qualities as Thompson — albeit in a younger package. Wilkerson, who was first elected in 2010, serves on the important Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee and the Juvenile Justice Committee, and has been one of his party’s most effective members under the Golden Dome, despite his lack of tenure. Voters in his district would do well to return him to Atlanta.