Georgia 1998 Republican Primary Recommendations
(These are not endorsements.)
Guy Millner is the obvious choice in this race. Though he has taken conservative positions on some social issues such as abortion (which is a disputed issue even among gay Republicans), Millner has not pandered to anti-gay sentiment in any of his past races. He is running on the issues of eliminating the ad valorem tax on cars, getting rid of parole, and improving our educational system. His three opponents are all rabidly anti-gay. The only question remaining is whether he avoids a runoff against arch-homophobe Mike Bowers. An outright victory on Tuesday would give him strong momentum going into the general election.
This race is not as easy to call as all of the candidates have pandered to anti-gay sentiments to some extent. Fulton County Commission Chairman Mitch Skandalakis has been the most dreadful by far. After seeking and winning gay votes for his elections in 1993 and 1994, he now boasts in direct mail pieces to likely GOP voters that he "opposes special rights for homosexuals, wants to end the teaching of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle to our children, refuses to endorse Gay Pride Weekend, opposes domestic partnership legislation, doesn't recognize homosexual marriages, and supports the sodomy law." Clearly, we need to show Mitch Skandalakis that he will not be rewarded by us for stabbing us in the back.
The best choice in this race is Chuck Clay, state senator of Marietta. Though Clay does oppose domestic partnership legislation (somewhat to his credit: he opposes it for both gay and straight couples, unlike Mitch who supports it for straight couples but not gay couples), Chuck did denounce the anti-gay resolution passed by the Cobb Commission in 1993. He has also been endorsed by The Atlanta Constitution, The Atlanta Journal, The Marietta Daily Journal, and the Savannah Morning News as the "mainstream candidate in the race."
The easy choice in this race is David Ralston, state senator of Blue Ridge. Ralston is a mainstream conservative endorsed by The Atlanta Constitution, The Atlanta Journal, and virtually every other newspaper in the state. He promises to focus his attention on fighting crime and corruption, not on issues like the sodomy law.
Secretary of State
This race is not easy to decide. Perennial candidate Charlie Bailey of Woodstock has attended a Log Cabin meeting in the past. Yet, his candidacy is not taken seriously by the state GOP and the media. The other candidate is John McCallum, a 27 year old married to the former Miss America, Heather Whitestone. McCallum is employing Ralph Reed as his political consultant, not a good sign for gay voters. However, his main issue is targeting voter fraud, which unfortunately is still quite common in some areas of Georgia. McCallum is the better choice in this race as he will be competitive in the fall election against a tough Democratic opponent.
This race features a cast of mostly unknowns and perennial candidates. However, the clear standout candidate is Rick Millsaps, a Conyers businessman and former employee of the Georgia Department of Labor. He has received the endorsement of virtually every large newspaper in the state, including both The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. He seems to be the mainstream, electable candidate in this race.
State School Superintendant
Linda Shrenko has had a rocky first term as superintendant, including some controversial remarks regarding the political leanings of the state PTA. However, she stands head and shoulder above her opponent in the primary. Despite some controversy, her record on education is strong: higher SAT scores, more funds spent in the classrooms rather than on administration, and a good working relationship with state Board of Education Chairman Johnny Isakson. She deserves re-election.
Georgia badly needs a new ag commissioner. Democratic incumbent Tommy Irvin was appointed to the job 29 years ago by then Governor Lester Maddox. He has never faced a serious electoral challenge since that time. Candidate Bob Greer is the best choice in this race against former State Senator Hildred Shumake. Shumake served as a Democrat in the State Senate and was defeated for re-election due to a financial scandal. He claims he joined the Republican Party so that black Americans could have a voice in the GOP, but this is one voice we don't need as our candidate in the fall.
Public Service Commission
PSC Chairman Bobby Baker has worked hard for the people of Georgia and should be chosen over a nuisance candidate in the GOP primary.
So, there you have it, our choices for Tuesday:
|Lt. Governor||Chuck Clay|
|Attorney General||David Ralston|
|Sec. of State||John McCallum|
|Labor Commissioner||Rick Millsaps|
|School Superintendant||Linda Shrenko|
|Agriculture Commissioner||Bob Greer|
|PSC Commissioner||Bobby Baker|
Everybody, please be sure to vote in the Republican primary this Tuesday July 21st.
Cobb County Commissioner
In other campaign news, Cobb County Commissioner Gordon Wysong, author of the infamous anti-gay "Community Standards" resolution, drew three strong opponents in the Republican primary. They include former incumbent Emmett Burton, attorney Sam Olens, and contractor Frank Hunter. Both Olens and Hunter stated in the Southern Voice that they oppose the anti-gay resolution and would practice non-discrimination in their office if elected. With four candidates in the field, this race looks headed to a runoff.
Fulton County Commissioner
The race for Mitch Skandalakis' open Fulton County Commission chairmanship features a Republican primary duel between former Democratic Commissioner Lee Roach and businessman and former Atlanta Falcon Mike Kenn. Kenn addressed Log Cabin Republicans at a meeting this spring and stated that he planned to campaign amongst all Fulton County voters and would welcome Log Cabin help in the election. Kenn is seen as the strong favorite to win the GOP nomination to face the certain Democratic nominee, former Atlanta police commissioner Eldrin Bell.
Other Primary Races
There are many other races across the state of Georgia on July 21st – please remember to vote!