Victories For WIN List Candidates Would Change the Face of Power
The election of the 22 Georgia’s WIN List endorsed women seeking House seats would create major power shifts in the Georgia House of Representatives, beginning with some of its longest-serving members, brightest rising stars and extending to others who serve as committee chairs.
The first 2018 election cycle power shift for the Georgia House came on the first day of qualifying week in March when 30-year Cobb County Incumbent Earl Ehrhart announced he would not seek re-election. While he said he planned to “spend more time with grandchildren,” political pundits were quick to note his WIN List early-endorsed HD 36 challenger Jen Slipakoff reported raising $65,000 on her first disclosure report.
Jen now faces Earl’s wife Ginny for the seat. Jen has surpassed $100,000 in fundraising and is one of the most energetic campaigners of all the women on the November ballot. She has a strong chance to pull off a huge upset election night which would mirror the upset which swept Ehrhart into office as the first Republican to win in Cobb County three decades ago when he defeated one of the most powerful men then serving in the House.
The Republican with the longest tenure in the General Assembly, though his earliest terms were served as a Democrat, faces a strong challenge from WIN List endorsed Joyce Barlow in House District 151. Gerald Green has represented his sprawling west Georgia district since 1982 and serves as chair of the State Properties Committee. Green has rarely faced a serious challenge, but Joyce has been an energetic campaigner and responded to recent hurricane damage in the district with great compassion to organize relief efforts.
Two Gwinnett Republicans with power or tenure chose not to run again rather than face endorsed WIN List challengers who were proving to be successful fundraisers – Joyce Chandler chose not to have an HD 105 re-match with Donna McLeod after almost losing in 2016 and 15-year incumbent David Casas chose not to seek re-election against Shelly Hutchinson for HD 107.
In middle Georgia, 75-year-old Bubber Epps, who was chair of the Small Business Committee and had served since 2009, chose not to run again. The energetic and well-funded HD 144 candidate Jessica Walden won a four-person primary during the July runoff and now faces a semi-retired Republican funeral home operator for the seat which stretches from the outskirts of Macon to Dublin.
Note: In our 18-year history, the Bubber Epps choice not to seek re-election is the closest any WIN List candidate has ever come to defeating a politician named Bubba!
Portions of Cobb County which have long been represented by Republicans will see major shifts when WIN List endorsed women win their seats:
- In Marietta, Mary Frances Williams, the daughter of a former state rep and former Marietta Mayor, is challenging four-term HD 37 incumbent and Majority Caucus chair Sam Teasley with a vigorous campaign and a more than $85,000 campaign war-chest.
- In East Cobb’s HD 43, Luisa Wakeman is taking on GOP incumbent Sharon Cooper, who has served since 1997 and chairs the Health and Human Services Committee.
- Matt Dollar, who is a GOP rising star as evidenced by his becoming the youngest Committee Chair in House history, faces an energetic challenge for HD 45 from Essence Johnson.
- HD 45 Candidate Karín Sandiford is challenging John Carson, who serves a vice chair of the all-powerful House Appropriations Committee.
A total of five WIN List endorsed House candidates are running for open seats while an additional four are seeking seats held by one-term incumbents and two are running against two-term incumbents.
One two-term incumbent facing a challenge is Betty Price, the physician wife of former Congressman Tom Price, who resigned to become Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary. His brief and scandal-plagued tenure may give moderate voters in the district a great reason to vote for HD 48 Candidate Mary Robichaux and against Betty Price, ending the media’s designation of the pair as North Fulton’s “Political Power Couple.”
There are similar major power shifts in store for the State Senate when key WIN List Endorsed women WIN their races for seats across the state. Read about those power shifts in a blog post HERE.
Thanks to the generosity of our grassroots donor base, Georgia’s WIN List has presented checks totaling more than $90,000 so far this year. We hope to write an additional round of checks before Election Day. Your contributions help our endorsed women smash Georgia’s stale, pale, patriarchy when we WIN in November.