The resignation of Chip Rogers a few weeks ago was certainly a surprise. But it created a special election that promises to be a mad sprint to the finish. With election day set for Tuesday January 8th, candidates will scramble. And not only is the race short, this campaign season coincides with the holidays. Hope there are no robocalls over Christmas!
What comes as no surprise is that Brandon Beach entered the race. This will be his third state senate race in as many years. He’ll square off against Cherokee County statehouse representative Sean Jerguson.
Beach is quickly becoming the Chicago Cubs of north Fulton elections. The poor guy has finished on the losing side nearly every time. The last time he won an election Bill Clinton was in the White House. On top of that, ballot initiatives he’s supported also tend not to do well. He opposed the charter school issue on the November ballot, which passed. And then there’s T-SPLOST.
Last year’s primary ballot was uncomfortable for Beach. His name was mere inches away from the T-SPLOST question he wholeheartedly supported. There’s no question it cost him votes. How much will it cost him in this special election?
Beach is way out of touch with most suburban voters. It explains his lack of success on election day. His constituency is business, particularly the real estate developer. They along with DOT contractors have been huge contributors to his past campaigns. And why not? He’s supported plenty of projects that would be a boon to big business but a detriment to the taxpayer. And we’re not just talking T-SPLOST here.
He’s supported managed toll lanes on GA-400. Ask your friends from Gwinnett County how popular these have been on I-85. Even many of Beach’s local supporters oppose this beastly idea. He’s also pushed for heavy and light rail projects into north Fulton. He even went so far as to propose a rail line that would bisect the Windward neighborhood.
In short, voters don’t trust the transportation leadership in Gerogia. Brandon Beach embodies that good-old-boy transportation establishment.
But the third time might prove to be a charm. He’s already got his campaign infrastructure in place. Yard signs are being recycled as are contributions. His opponent, Sean Jerguson, is almost unknown in north Fulton. He’ll need to spend a lot of time and money building his name recognition here, indeed an uphill challenge.
Beach also has a strategic advantage in early voting. Fulton County opened an early voting location in downtown Alpharetta. This almost never happens within the city. Alpharetta and Milton voters were not given this courtesy during the high-turnout general election this past November. Perhaps it was intentional this time. In contrast, Cherokee’s early voting location is on the edge of the senate district in Canton.
So pass the popcorn; this one is gonna be fun to watch. Expect robocalls and mailers galore as the mud is sure to fly.