A pair of Democrats launch long-shot bids to replace Tom Price

Former state Sen. Ron Slotin in 1996. AJC file.

Former state Sen. Ron Slotin, left, campaigning in 1996. AJC file.

If Democrats have a snowball’s chance to win U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s seat, they know they need to unite behind a single credible contender for next year’s special election.

One well-known Democrat – former state Sen. Ron Slotin – jumped in the race Wednesday promising to be a “progressive voice” for the district. And another lesser-known candidate, attorney Joshua McLaurin, announced Tuesday he would run for the seat.

Slotin, a business owner who once was publisher of Atlanta Jewish Life, represented a north Atlanta Senate district until 1996, when he lost a bid to oust Rep. Cynthia McKinney. It’s not clear whether he has the widespread support of party officials.

But there was much lamenting in Democratic circles on Tuesday when McLaurin, a Yale-educated attorney from the north metro Atlanta congressional district, said he was in. He was at the center of a 2014 Georgia court ruling that allowed more parties to take video recordings of courtroom proceedings.

A quick scan of Democratic poobahs yielded plenty of concerns he would dilute the party’s vote. McLaurin didn’t consult with top party leaders before announcing his entry. A sampling of reactions:

“Who is this guy?” “Never heard of him.” “He’s not our candidate.”

Here’s McLaurin’s announcement:

mclaurin

The district heavily favors Republicans, and before Price it was represented by Newt Gingrich and Johnny Isakson. And although Hillary Clinton came within a whisker of winning the district in November, Price still won a commanding victory with about 62 percent of the vote.

Among the other Democrats kicking the tires on a run are former state Rep. Sally Harrell, who served in the early 2000s, and state Rep. Taylor Bennett, a former Georgia Tech standout who was ousted last month by a Republican newcomer.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the aisle, the field consolidated somewhat on Tuesday with Jan Jones’ decision not to run.  State Sen. Judson Hill has already announced a bid, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel, ex-state Sen. Dan Moody and state Rep. Chuck Martin are expected to run.

More AJC coverage of Price and the race to replace him:

Legislative training session a launchpad for Georgia candidates

Tom Price: The Georgia lawmaker who will lead Trump’s health policy

Price’s promotion sets off a scramble to fill his north Atlanta seat


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