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:
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: