Cobb votes today and parties tonight
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
May 20, 2014 12:00 AM | 5621 views | 1 1 comments | 89 89 recommendations | email to a friend | print
IT WILL BE “PARTY CENTRAL” around Marietta Square tonight as candidates and their supporters converge on the eateries and watering holes nearby. Such get-togethers used to be called “Victory Parties,” but this year it seems many of the candidate are euphemistically referring to them as “Election Watch Parties.”

• U.S. Senate candidate Phil Gingrey’s party will be at Marietta Pizza.

• 11th District Congressional candidate Tricia Pridemore’s party will be on the fourth floor of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre.

• Partying elsewhere at the Strand will be Northwest Cobb District 1 Commissioner candidate Bob Weatherford.

• Fellow District 1 Commission candidate Bill Byrne will be having his party in the upstairs room at Schillings on the Square.

• Cobb Superior Court judicial candidate Juanita Stedman will have her party at The Butcher The Baker on North Marietta Square, starting at 6:30 p.m.

• Fellow Cobb Superior Court judicial hopeful Ann Harris will have her party on the patio at Hemingway’s on West Park Square.

• (The other candidate in that race, attorney Nathan Wade, emailed AT: “Spending quiet private time with wife and kids, no party!”)

• Meanwhile, just down the street on that side of the Square, Cobb Solicitor General candidate Barry Morgan and Georgia House District 34 hopeful Bert Reeves will co-host their party at The dk Gallery.

• As for other notable parties, there will be two in Smyrna. 11th District candidate Bob Barr will have his at Remington Hall at Adventure Outdoors, 2500 South Cobb Drive. And fellow 11th candidate Ed Lindsey’s party will run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at his Cobb headquarters at 2800 Spring Road, Suite D.

All those parties start at about 7 p.m. when the polls close, unless specified otherwise.

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FORMER U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Smyrna and former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Cartersville appeared to be headed toward a July 22 runoff to succeed Phil Gingrey as 11th District Congressman as Primary Day dawned, at least according to a poll of 400 likely Republican voters released on Monday by Landmark Communications.

That poll had an error margin of 4.9 percent and showed Loudermilk in the lead at 28.2 percent, followed by Barr with 25.0 percent, Ed Lindsey with 16.2 percent, Tricia Pridemore with 11.8 percent, Allen Levene at 1.7 percent and retired Army Col. Larry Mrozinski at 1.4 percent.

THE OTHER closely watched local race widely expected to go to a runoff is that for the District 1 Northwest Cobb seat on the Cobb Commission. Many observers expect the crowded field to boil down to Bill Byrne and Bob Weatherford in the runoff, but don’t be surprised to see fellow candidates Angela Barner, Glenn Melson or Scott Tucker show surprising strength in today’s balloting.

Turnout is expected to be much lower today than in the most recent non-presidential year statewide GOP primary. And as we have seen over and over when it comes to SPLOST and school bond referendums — which are typically ignored by most voters — a small, highly motivated cadre of supporters for an issue or candidate can be the key to success.

Hence, the attention paid by all five candidates to pledging better pay and equipment for Cobb public safety workers. Most of those police, fire and EMS personnel live in Cobb as well as work here, and they represent a substantial bloc of potential votes. That vote might be split at least three ways, though. Byrne was a staunch advocate for the county’s public safety establishment during his tenure as chairman, but he’s now competing for those votes with a former policeman (Weatherford) and a retired Marietta assistant fire chief (Tucker).

So the question might become which of today’s District 1 candidates has the widest circle of motivated friends and acquaintances? Is it former office holders like former Commission Chairman Byrne and former Acworth Alderman Weatherford? Or is it one of the others?

It could come down to who has developed the most friends via church or youth-league coaching or subdivision politics — people who have known the candidate in question for years. Such candidates might rarely, if ever, have seen their name in the headlines prior to signing up to run, but still can have enough “people power” to win a race. You can’t win a statewide election that way, or even countywide race in a county as populous as Cobb. But you can compete and even win a district-wide campaign that way.

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MEANWHILE, results of the final Insider Advantage/Fox 5/Morris News/MDJ Poll released Monday of 852 registered likely voters in the Republican U.S. Senate Primary released show businessman David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah losing a slight bit of support, former Fulton County Commission Chairwoman Karen Handel and Rep. Paul Broun holding steady and Rep. Gingrey picking up a bit of ground.

This week’s numbers have Perdue still out front at 26 percent (down from last week’s 27 percent), followed by Handel at 17 percent, Kingston also at 17 percent (down from 19), Gingrey moving up to 11 percent (from 9) and Broun still at 10 percent, with 18 percent “undecided,” up from 14 percent last week.

The poll had a 3.3 percent margin of error.

“Typically, when we see the undecided total spike right before an election, it means that some voters are abandoning their earlier choice and are either thinking about switching horses or are considering not voting,” said Insider Advantage head Matt Towery. “My guess is this is a little of both. And given that most candidates gave up ground, the two most likely recipients of those votes would be Handel and Gingrey.”

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AND A COUPLE of other reflections on Primary Day:

• Is there enough of an anti-Birrell vote up there in Northeast Cobb that incumbent District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell might have been vulnerable had she had only one challenger rather than two (Michael Opitz and Joseph Pond) splitting the vote between them?

• Can “dean” of the Senate, Steve Thompson (D-Powder Springs), hold off today’s challenge by Dr. Michael Rhett? Probably. Challenger Rhett failed to make much of an impression in two previous tries for the commission district representing southwest Cobb. But will Thompson, who is white, eventually fall victim to the changing demographics of his district?

• Solicitor Barry Morgan, a Republican, notes the flyer mailed out last week by fellow Republican challenger Cindi Yeager takes issue with the fact, among other things, he was “appointed by a Democrat,” (then-Gov. Zell Miller) implying he is less than ardent in his allegiance.

“I voted for (Republican) Gerald Ford for president in 1976 and have been actively involved with the Cobb GOP since 1992,” he says.

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MORE POLITICS: Cobb D.A. Vic Reynolds has endorsed Senior Assistant Prosecutor Ann Harris in the closely contested race to succeed the retiring Jim Bodiford as Cobb Superior Court judge.

“I have officially endorsed Ann because of my professional relationship with her and the fact that she is a prosecutor with the DA’s office,” he told AT. “There are three excellent candidates for this seat, but I believe Ann is the most qualified based on her approximate 20 years in Superior Court. Ann has held defendants accountable for their actions, and I am confident our community will be safer with her on the bench.” …

Democrat Charles Levinson, who ran unsuccessfully last fall against incumbent Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, was named winner of this year’s Joe Mack Wilson Award at Saturday’s Cobb Democratic Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. The award is named after late Marietta Mayor Wilson, who also was a Democratic stalwart in the state Legislature.

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STRANGE BUT TRUE: Judge Bodiford was called to serve on jury duty this week in Cobb State Court and was picked on Monday as a juror in a civil case in Judge Irma Glover’s courtroom. ...

A reader or two of Saturday’s AT item about Judge Glover’s recent appearance on the game show “Family Feud” complained of a faulty link embedded in the story. If you had a problem, too, just go to YouTube.com and type in “Family Feud — Steve Meets Irma!”

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May 20, 2014
Mr. Reynolds, how will our community be "safer" with Harris (your employee) as Judge? I think Sheriffs Warren and Hutson would disagree with you. They endorsed Judge Stedman.
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