Usually primary challenges are not worth blogging about, but there are a couple of incumbent Democrats in Cobb County who face formidable challenges.  In HD 33 incumbent Don Wix faces former Cobb Democratic Party Chair David Wilkerson and over in HD 39 Alisha Thomas Morgan faces former Cobb School Board member Betty Gray.

These are two seats that are so Democratic that the Republicans are not even bothering to field candidates, so I think the people  of the districts will benefit from the competition.  I know that is unpopular to say in some Georgia Democratic circles, so feel free to send me some hate mail!  From a political junkies standpoint these races have the makings for some great political theater.  Alisha Thomas Morgan’s husband David defeated Betty Gray in the 2008 Democratic primary for Cobb School Board, so this state house race is already personal.  I think Morgan will win, but I would not be shocked if Gray got 35-40% of the vote.  Gray has a decent amount of community support and with Mableton’s own Roy Barnes on the ballot I suspect a good number of old school Mableton folks who usually skip the primary will come out on July 20.  I could see Gray picking up those voters and bringing out some of her own.  With that said, people should not underestimate Alisha Thomas Morgan.

Alisha has done some things that are controversial in Georgia Democratic circles such as calling Ed “Microchip” Setzler “a great educational leader,” and taking $4600 from that bigot Eric Johnson in exchange for pushing his voucher legislation.  Alisha, however, remains popular with the people that count the most, her constituents.  Mableton is unincorporated, but Alisha is the defacto mayor of Mableton.  Moreover, Betty Gray is not exactly a progressive Democrat.  While on school board she voted to put the “Evolution Disclaimer” in Cobb science books.  Any candidate that believes it is possible that dinosaurs were chasing people around ancient Mesopotamia  6000 years ago gives me pause.  I am also pretty sure she does not know what LGBT means.

While I think Morgan will defeat Gray I think David Wilkerson is going to defeat Don Wix in the primary over in HD 33.  There has been a ridiculous narrative floating around that David cannot beat Don because he is in leadership.  Don just about lost his Democratic primary in 2008 to an underfunded college student-Michael Smith- who had never run for public office.  Don outspent Michael Smith like 100 to 1 and barely squeaked out a victory.  Wix received 1508 votes-53%- to Smiths 1342-47%- and much of that margin can be attributed to the 355 Republicans who crossed party lines to cast votes for party switcher Woody Thompson’s Cobb County Commission run.  On the other hand, David Wilkerson will have a mail campaign, and he has been canvassing the district for months and hitting the community events and forums hard for over a year.  Moreover, David is a good family man and he has children in public school.  He has been active in the community and his children’s schools long before challenging Don Wix.

The bottom line is Don Wix just about lost to a college student with no money, so it is a fact that he cannot hold this seat much longer.  David Wilkerson understood this and he thought why not me.  Also, if you think Don is a reliable progressive vote ask Planned Parenthood, and anyone who cares about LGBT rights in Georgia.  Don was the right Democrat for HD 33 in 1998, but David is a better fit in 2010.  Hats off to Don, but it is time for a change.


5 Responses to South Cobb Showdowns

  1. Jen B. says:

    Sheila Jones (D-44, parts of S. or E. Cobb / Fulton) is facing Steven Lee in the primary. This reminds me, I need to do a post on why I’m NOT voting for her.

    • JasonC says:

      I didn’t discuss that one because Shelia Jones trounced Steven Lee last time 74.2% to 25.8%. Shelia is my representative, so I am interested to hear your reasons for voting for Lee. Believe it or not, I do not have a very strong opinion about her and I have lived in district 44 for 3 years. Shelia usually votes progressive, so I do not have too many ideological issues with her. Her support of payday lending was about the only thing she has done that ticked me off.

      • Jen B. says:

        Funny, I’ve lived in District 44 for three years as well. My reason for not voting for her is not so much ideological, as much as it is.. what have you done for me lately?

        On June 9th, I received a phone call from one of her volunteers asking me to vote for her on July 20th in the primary. I was actually surprised that she had primary opposition (had forgotten Lee ran against her in ’08). So, I went I went to website to see what she’s been doing the last two years. Unfortunately, her “News” section hadn’t been updated since 2007.

        The same day, I sent her an email and after introducing myself said, “I went to your site and was disappointed to learn that the most updated information was from 2007. Can you perhaps tell me what you’ve done in the last two years to earn my vote again.”

        I received a response a few days later that stated she had stopped updating the site after her mother became sick in 2007, but that she had sent out “emails as updates” and “held meetings.” She then said she would be updating her site soon.

        There was not a single mention of what she’s been doing for the last two years (her mother by the way, passed away in July of 2008) as my Representative.

        After reading your post, I check her site and her “News” section is now blank.

        If you can’t tell me what you’ve done to earn my vote, then I’m not giving it to you.

        So yeah, I’m voting for Steven Lee.

        • Steve Golden says:

          I mean I don’t half blame you. The reason why I love Rep. Benfield is because she basically has that seat as long as she wants it, but yet she still sends out an awesome weekly newsletter–it’s called connecting with her voters. I hate it when politicians in safe districts take that for granted. That being said, incumbency is a strong thing, and most people do not share our opinions.