As speculation ramps up that Donald Trump could tap Rep. Tom Price to lead the federal government’s sprawling health bureaucracy, a range of Republicans could seek to replace him in his heavily-conservative north Atlanta district.
If Price is named head of the Health and Human Services Department – he’s considered a top contender of the post – a special election will be called to represent the 6th District, which includes parts of north DeKalb and Fulton counties and east Cobb.
It’s an establishment-friendly district – Marco Rubio won the district in the March primary and Trump carried it by a razor-thin margin – but it is considered the GOP’s to lose. Case in point: Price won nearly 62 percent of the vote against a little-known Democratic opponent even as Hillary Clinton almost won the district.
Here’s a look at several Republican contenders who could jump in the contest:
State Sen. Brandon Beach: The head of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Beach is an outspoken supporter of gambling initiatives to raise money for the HOPE scholarship and a pro-transit advocate who fought off a bitter primary challenge from the right against a rival who attacked him for his MARTA support.
State Sen. John Albers: Elected in 2010, the Roswell telecom executive and volunteer firefighter, he is a skeptic of MARTA’s expansion and a reliable conservative vote in the Senate.
State Rep. Jan Jones: The Milton lawmaker is the highest-ranking woman in Georgia GOP politics as the House’s speaker pro tem, and she’s been able to cobble together compromises that have helped hold together the GOP’s ever-fractious caucus.
State Rep. Chuck Martin: A former Alpharetta mayor, he unsuccessfully ran for House Majority Leader in 2015 and was one of the leading critics of the state’s tax credit for electric vehicles.
Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel: She’s a powerbroker in north Fulton County, and much of her campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate revolved around building support in the north Atlanta suburbs.
State Rep. Betty Price: Tom Price’s wife would have tremendous name recognition in the district, plus one term under her belt as a state legislator representing a Roswell-based stretch of his district.
State Sen. Judson Hill: That’s right, at least three suburban Atlanta senators are eyeing the race. Almost all of Hill’s Senate territory – which stretches from Cobb County to Sandy Springs – is in Price’s district. And Hill, who seems all but guaranteed to run, would also try to unite the Cobb powerbrokers behind him.
Charles Kuck: A devout Mormon and longtime Republican who is a nationally-known expert on immigration law, Kuck has been critical of the nation’s patchwork immigration system. He has confirmed his interest in the seat on social media.
Cade Joiner: A one-time College Republican leader who is a small business owner, Joiner would likely run as an outsider.
Dan Moody: A former state senator from Roswell and a one-time member of the state Department of Transportation board, we are told Moody could be eyeing a comeback in public office.
Kelly Stewart: The former Johns Creek councilwoman would also likely try to position herself as an outsider who can finance her own campaign.