Early County News

Qualifying is Here and Crossover Approaches: Quick Hitters

From the Front Line



This week is “Qualifying Week” – the time for campaigns to pay their filing fee and get on the ballot. It’s the time for surprise entrants, late retirements, and struggling candidates to bow out gracefully.

In playground terms, it’s put up or shut up time.

At the same time, the General Assembly rapidly moves toward Crossover – set for Tuesday, March 15. That will be the last opportunity for a bill to pass its Chamber of origin with a chance of becoming law.

At this interesting time in Georgia politics, here are some quick hitters:

1. Watch qualifying for US Senate. Herschel Walker has managed to avoid many appearances and is probably still spending more time in Texas than Georgia, but he has a massive lead. Will all the candidates – after struggling to gain traction against the Heisman winner – opt to qualify?

2. There will be plenty of intrigue around the other statewide races, especially on the Republican side. Barring a last minute twist, Perdue is set to challenge Kemp for Governor. The Lt. Governor race is primarily a battle between Burt Jones and Butch Miller – who, between the two of them, cover pretty much the full spectrum of the GOP. Where intrigue remains, however, is a handful of races where there is no primary, currently: Insurance Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner, Labor Commissioner, and, most surprisingly, Attorney General. It’s hard to believe that each of those races have the nomination settled at the end of this week.

3. Expect a more than typical number of primaries in the Georgia State House and State Senate. Some primaries will be levied against officials challengers deem to be “too ineffective,” which is often code for “the official has taken a position in opposition to leadership.” Other primaries will be levied by challengers who say an incumbent is “too Establishment,” meaning they’ve been able to become part of or close to leadership. While this may be a bit of a “anti-incumbent climate,” look for only a modest number of incumbents to be beaten.

4. Legislatively, a surprising amount of work has already been done – especially on the issues we have been talking about here. Primary legislation that is pro-gun, pro-life, pro-taxpayer, and education reform has already passed one Chamber. Usually, some of those bills are held to the last minute. That leaves plenty of room for strange happenings under the Gold Dome as time ticks toward Day 28.

5. Two issues to keep an eye on: Gambling and School Choice. A national story came from Georgia when the Speaker announced the “death” of school choice bills in light of the targeting of House Republicans members deemed to be “on the fence” about the issue. There is some movement to revive the legislation – though that remains a longshot. Conversely, behind the scenes, leadership in both Chambers is backing legislation for gambling expansion. Votes on those issues are set to be highly controversial.

Cole Muzio serves as Executive Director of Frontline Policy Council, a conservative organization advocating for Christian values in state government. The editor of this paper serves on his board.

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