With the Sixth District race done, a state Supreme Court candidate pops up

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In this January file photo, all nine justices meet at the Georgia Supreme Court for oral arguments in Atlanta. DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

That giant sucking sound that suddenly went silent late Tuesday was the Sixth District, which finally left the stage and allowed other political campaigns a little oxygen.

Press releases from the Atlanta mayoral campaigns spiked on Wednesday. A candidate for the state Senate District 39, being vacated by mayoral candidate Vincent Fort, sent a message via Facebook, wondering why we hadn’t yet shifted our attention to his campaign. (So far as we know, Fort hasn’t actually resigned yet — so the seat isn’t yet an open one.)

But the most impressive bit of timing comes from state Court of Appeals Judge John Ellington, who on Wednesday announced his candidacy for the spot on the Georgia Supreme Court now occupied by Carol Hunstein. She’s retiring.

The Soperton, Ga., resident has already picked up an endorsement from Gov. Nathan Deal. The quote in the press release:

“A good judge possesses the character, ability and integrity needed to deliver the promise of our state motto: Wisdom, Justice and Moderation. Judge Ellington embodies those characteristics, and he will receive my vote next year.”

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, has endorsed Ellington, too. As has state Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus, who is certainly the most influential Democrat at the state Capitol.

And if we’re not mistaken, Ellington was pretty tight with Gov. Roy Barnes back in the day, too.

David M. Ratcliffe, the former president of Georgia Power Co. and CEO of Southern Co., will serve as campaign chairman.

That’s the kind of debut intended to make other candidates look elsewhere for gainful employment.

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Jon Ossoff may have lost that Sixth District race on Tuesday. But some Democrats still see opportunity in the results. Steve Reilly, a Lawrenceville attorney, has become the second Democrat to announce himself as a candidate for the Seventh District congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, a Republican.

Reilly is a former chairman of the Seventh District Democratic party and its Gwinnett County counterpart. He was the Democratic nominee for the seat in 2012.

David Kim, the Harvard-educated founder of a national test prep company and the son of Korean immigrants, announced his plans to run for the same U.S. House seat earlier this month. (The Gwinnett Daily Post has reported that a third Democrat, Kathleen Allen, has also joined the contest.)

Clearly, all three are looking at the rapidly diversification of Gwinnett, which comprises much of the Seventh, as an advantage.

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Every summer, the Aspen Institute in Colorado holds an invitation-only “ideas festival” that touts some of the best brains in the country. The 2017 version just began and runs through next week.

In the press release, the first two speakers mentioned are from Georgia, and we can only hope and pray that they’re on stage at the same time. One is Sally Yates, the fired (and temporary) U.S. attorney general. The other is Tom Price, the former congressman and current secretary of health and human services.

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A Georgia lawmaker is out with a new proposal to expand access to guns for members of Congress a week after a gunman ambushed a Republican baseball practice in a Washington, D.C., suburbs.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice’s new bill would allow representatives to carry guns anywhere in the nation. The U.S. Capitol would be the only exception.

“While members of Congress are all average Americans, it is clear that we also have a bull’s eye on our backs,” the Monroe Republican said. “In light of recent events, it’s incredibly important that congressmen and women maintain the ability to provide for their own safety, regardless of the city or state.”

Don’t look for this to go anywhere. Gun enthusiasts tend to be a jealous lot. If members of Congress declare themselves more average than the average American, and thus entitled to concealed carry wherever they go, Second Amendment champions will argue that less average average Americans should be able to do the same.

On the other hand, Hice’s Georgia GOP colleague, Barry Loudermilk of Cassville, was near home plate last Wednesday when  the shooter began firing at the team’s early-morning practice ahead of the congressional baseball game. In an interview following the shooting, Loudermilk advocated for the Washington, D.C., area to loosen its gun laws.

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In a race pitting three Senate Republican officials against each other, there’s no guarantee that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will lock up his chamber’s support.

That’s why Cagle’s latest endorsements are worth noting: State Sens. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, Chuck Hufstetler of Rome, and former senator Don Thomas of Dalton all backed his gubernatorial campaign. All are Republicans, and from north Georgia.

Cagle also announced support from more than 60 other northwest Georgia officials, including state Reps. John Deffenbaugh, R-Lookout Mountain; Dewayne Hill, R-Ringold; and five local sheriffs. Again, note the north Georgia flavor.

Cagle faces Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams in the GOP race for governor. Democratic lawmakers Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans are both in the race as well.

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We wrote yesterday about how pressure is mounting on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after Republicans successfully used her image as a liberal Californian to help sink Jon Ossoff in the 6th District.

For her part, Pelosi appeared defiant on Thursday: “I think I’m worth the trouble,” she said Thursday, per The New York Times:

Ms. Pelosi, boasting that she was “the biggest fund-raiser in the country” still in office, dismissed suggestions that her time had passed. And she could not help but note that her critics did not mind benefiting from her financial prowess.

 

“You know what? I want them to win. I want them to win,” she said of those who want her fund-raising help but would just as soon avoid being photographed with her. “If I were bothered by that, I wouldn’t be raising the money. What is curious to me is people say, ‘Raise us all the money and then step aside.’ It’s like, what?”

Pelosi also told the Times that no one in her party had approached her about stepping down after Ossoff’s loss. She attributed some of the frustration in her party to frustration at Clinton’s loss. “I think a number of people here thought they were destined for the administration,” she said.


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