Republican loss of Senate seat sparks proposal to change voting process

Jen Jordan and Jaha Howard

The bizarre all-Democratic runoff for a state Senate seat long held by Republicans would never have happened under legislation set to be introduced before next year’s legislative session.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, said he’ll pre-file legislation next week that would require both parties to nominate their own candidates in a special election.

It was spurred by the surprising results in Tuesday’s vote to replace Republican Hunter Hill, who vacated the Atlanta-based seat to run for governor. The district was becoming increasingly competitive – Hill only narrowly carried it last year – but few predicted the two top finishers would be Democrats.

That’s exactly what happened with a field of five Republicans splitting the GOP vote, while the two leading Democrats – Jaha Howard and Jen Jordan – carved up the Democratic support. That helped them finish atop the field, even though Republicans narrowly outvoted Democrats overall.

McKoon’s measure would establish party primaries in special elections rather than the wide-open races that state law now requires. He called Tuesday’s results “an injustice to the citizens of this state to be denied fair representation.”

Democrats were quick to criticize McKoon’s proposal as an attempt to circumvent his party’s defeat at the polls. Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson questioned why McKoon wasn’t as “indignant” in 2012 when the district’s lines were redrawn to boost its conservative vote.

“With this seat, Democrats have 34 percent of the seats in the Senate. No one argues that at least 45 percent of the Georgia vote is Democratic,” said Henson, D-Tucker. “So it’s obvious Josh is not spending his time worrying about fairness.”

McKoon’s push was seconded by Cobb County GOP chair Jason Shepherd, who criticized Republican Michael Williams for blaming Hill for the defeat and lamented a “process where a majority Republican district can end up with two Democrats in the runoff.”

“It’s time for the Legislature to fix the process once and for all before more Republican districts flip because of a process that doesn’t reflect the will of the voters,” he said.

Read more: Georgia Democrats think Tuesday’s wins point to greater gains in 2018

Reader Comments 0

52 comments
Jackalope
Jackalope

Two things...first I don't think it right or fair to change the rules in the middle of an election.  Everyone signed on with the existing rules and that's what should determine the winner.
But second, this "two top candidates of any party" BS needs to go.  The same thing happened in the House race that elected Karen Handle.  No party should lose an election simply because they have more primary candidates. 

Despondent
Despondent

This perspective shows that McKoon is unfit for public office in a democracy. 


It is fine to debate the structure of special elections. Instant run-off voting should be considered, for all elections. However, reasoning matters. 


McKoon's position is that "Even though a clear majority of voters in SD 6 chose Republican candidates, those voters will be unrepresented in the December runoff." That is, in his opinion all votes for a Republican candidate in the first round are owned by the Republican party. To McKoon, the political party is the only important unit of politics. He fundamentally opposes (small d) democratic control of government officials by voters. He cannot bring himself to pretend that first round voters cast their ballot for individuals with distinct personalities and policy preferences, rather than blindly voting for the Republican label.


Some parties are entitled to support. McKoon should move to China and try to become a party hack for their Communist Party. He has no place in our community.

Kathy
Kathy

Maybe the Reps need to change their agenda to reflect the needs of citizens and not their personal values or self-interest. Citizens are sick and tired of party politics with their whining and fighting over who gets the biggest piece of the pie, And worse, now we are supposed to worry that those billionaires and corporations aren't making enough money. Give me a break!

aliamoroso
aliamoroso

Senator Henson brings up a crucial point I don't see in the interesting discussion below -- the legislature as a whole doesn't reflect the party leanings of the electorate as it is mostly very conservative, and the people of the state do not share that philosophy in the same proportion. If Hill and the Cobb County GOP leader are interested in fair representation, they would be advocating for districts that allow for a more representative reflection of political parties/philosophies, and not just keeping their friends in power. Hypocrisy abounds here in GA.

tacada
tacada

That's how the republicans roll.  Anything that falls in their favor.

DavidATL45
DavidATL45

Josh McKoon.  No one would ever accuse him of manipulating the system to rig the results, would they?  No one would accuse him of living in a homophobic cloud of hatred, would they?  No one would accuse him of being completely out of step with real Christianity, would they? 

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

This is the same guy that is fine running every business out of the state so he can pass that idiot Religious Freedom legislation. Stands to reason McKoon should just move to Alabama where nothing matters or ever happens. That's what he wants Georgia to be so why not just cut out the middle man.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

McKoon: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! The election didn't go my way so I'm a gonna change da wules!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! 

ScottChapman
ScottChapman

When you lose, you change the law so you have a better chance of winning?  #Gerrymandering? is #JoshMcKoon taking his toys and going home?

Ald420
Ald420

We don't need more laws that entrench the power of the two party system. This could have easily gone the other way.

How would you feel about it if it wasn't "your team" that lost this time?

mad_russian
mad_russian

The two part system is unconstitutional. It should be up to the popular vote as it was in this case. The will of the people should always outweigh the presence of parties. Deal with it dare I say, snowflakes.

Hoo Mee?
Hoo Mee?

@mad_russian Whose constitution Comrade? Can't you go interfere in say Russia's political affairs?

chill30313
chill30313

Poor, stupid, out of touch GOP. This is what happens when your party becomes inbred and lazy... you get tubby little Josh McCoon. How about running btter candidates and NOT changes the rules because you are a sore loser.

creative
creative

@chill30313 You are correct he would care if it were the DEMS, however he seems to have a good point. If it was a majority dem district I would feel the same way. Both parties are awful.   That said, the republicans should have sorted it out under the current rules to run only 2 just like the dems did.If the rules don't change, which they should, maybe the republicans should do the same thing in a majority democratic district. If they can do the same thing then there would be bipartisan support.Of course we could always just start calling people nazis and communists. That always helps. 

Brit
Brit

try 17 candidates like national GOP did enabling the idiot DJP get elected POTUS

BillSeng
BillSeng

Ya gotta love the GOP. When they start losing, then they want to change the rules. Just like with Trump demanding that 51 votes be all that is needed in the senate vs the 60 vote standard.

Someone better call Josh McCoon a whaaa-mbulance. The will of the people was reflected in the vote totals. If the GOP had run a decent candidate, then they might have won. They didn't, so they lost. End of story.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@USMC2841 @BillSeng Which is why Republicans showed themselves to be even bigger children by exacerbating the nuclear option instead of reverting to the original senate rules. Can't take the high ground if you keep digging.

DavidATL45
DavidATL45

@USMC2841 @BillSeng  The problem goes back to GOP intransigence during the 'black man's' presidency.  It's been nearly 9 years of obstruction and the GOP has NO idea how to deal civilly with each other, let alone the Democrats.  The GOP created the problem.  Period. We see the logical result in the Alabama choice of voting for a pedophile or a decent, moderate Democrat.  It is the pathos of a broken GOP left with nothing but moral hypocrisy.  McKoon is nothing more than the Georgia counterpart of the narrow-minded Alabama hater. 

ChristopherShadwell
ChristopherShadwell

Ossoff might have won in the general special election if the other Dems had dropped out. Just saying.

EveryDayIsAHoliday
EveryDayIsAHoliday

My only question is this; if it were two republicans would he still think this process is unfair?

58Supersports
58Supersports

Nothing wrong with both Parties to  nominate their own candidates on Special Elections.

Would keep Demo and GOP voters from losing their votes when 5 or more candidates in race.



tipstotips
tipstotips

Looks like the GOP won the popular vote! Where have we heard that?

Hoo Mee?
Hoo Mee?

What did anyone expect from these slimy republicans? Lose and they whine & cry and wring their hands that their plans to take monies from the public and put them into private hands have been foiled. They crow about cutting taxes but they don't tell you that those cuts are only for top 'earners' and big business while deductions for working people vanish. They don't tell you that the tax incentives for big business is passed on to the working class if not in higher taxes and fewer deductions then in blatant fees while public services are cut and certain fines are increased, but only for the working class.


They gerrymander like crazy, change the rules, lie, cheat, steal, hack, anything to cheat the public and scare old people into voting for them via some false flag or strawman or red herring. They do anything they can to prop up corporations that benefit from tax dollars, favorable legislation and fees they can charge and who, in turn, keep filling the republican politicians pockets.


Go to HELL republicans! This country is supposed to be Of The People, By The People and For The People. KEEP LOCAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL TAX DOLLARS for the benefit of the PUBLIC and out of grubby politicians and private hands!

Public health, services and infrastructures will continue to suffer under these conditions.


Rise up AMERICA, defeat this great evil!

72DCSD99
72DCSD99

@Hoo Mee? Was it not the Democrat party that wants to change the electoral college after Hillary Clinton was not elected?  And your tirade against the Rs is only half correct.  Include the Ds in that and you've got yourself a campaign.  

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@Hoo Mee? @Corey No disrespect, but this has always bothered me:

How long were people married back then before they consummated the marriage? Mary and Joseph were husband and wife. Did she become pregnant between the vows and the wedding night? What was Joseph waiting for? A special occasion? Their first anniversary? I don't get it.

Corey
Corey

@Hoo Mee? A Republican state of Alabama official defended Roy Moore by comparing the alleged incident by the woman who was 14 at the time to Mary, Jesus and Joseph. We have not heard a peep from the evangelical community responding to what that official said. If a Democratic official had uttered such nonsense Mike Huckabee and other Evangelicals would be on Fox News screeching dropping onto fainting couches.

Corey
Corey

@72DCSD99 @Hoo Mee? Please name one Democrat party member who has introduced legislation or said they plan to introduce legislation changing the the electoral college. 

Hoo Mee?
Hoo Mee?

@Corey I'll give you a hint. The Holy Virgin is the Immaculate Conception, conceived only by a kiss. She was NEVER carnal in any way shape or form. The Lord Jesus was conceived when the Holy Spirit descended on the Blessed Virgin when she said YES to being the handmaid of the Lord God and bearing the Savior of the world.


Roy Moore is no saint. Saint Joseph NEVER touched the Blessed Mother in any carnal way. The perv Roy Moore is a charlottan hypocrite.


Got it?

Hoo Mee?
Hoo Mee?

@Corey @Hoo Mee? Because they're mostly charlottans also. Besides, this doesn't belong in this thread...

HeyThere
HeyThere

They will change this rule and immediately regret it when it leads to a Democrat winning a seat. Doesn't usually happen this way, leave it alone. 

NeboSuki1
NeboSuki1

When you can't cheat or gerrymander...change the rules. Eh, Repugs?

58Supersports
58Supersports

@NeboSuki1 not cheating Nebo, the everyday liberal blogger... It's fair for both parties and has nothing to do with this election. You just can't get over Killary losing... can't blame Bush so blame Trump...funny man.

Hoo Mee?
Hoo Mee?

@58Supersports  Go fix a car or something, critical thinking is obviously not one of your strong points...

NeboSuki1
NeboSuki1

Hunter Hill was a moron.  I'm glad to be rid of him.

LowSage
LowSage

Jen's hot! she's got my vote!!

jeffufl
jeffufl

An injustice to the citizens of this state to be denied fair representation????  COME ON!  If anyone thinks he would've been this upset if it were 2 Republicans, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you...

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

 Can't gerrymander the district? So when you loose you change the rules....the same rules that got them elected over and over...

How many times did multiple Dem candidates in a race negate that the majority of Dems voted in the race? No legislation then. Why now?