Insider Advantage Says Belinfante is Likely Candidate


Scott Bard


May 30, 2012


Yes, there are only 15 or so state Senate races that will be contested in July’s primary.  But of those contests, the majority of the contests have Republicans fighting Republicans.  And some of the contests will be bigger political wars than one might expect.

InsiderAdvantage has already profiled the active District 6 race in which three top tier Republicans are fighting it out in July in order to win the nomination against Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner. That is one of several hot Metro Atlanta Senate contests. Early odds favor Hunter making a runoff against the more likely opponent, Josh Belinfante or the dark horse rising Drew Ellenburg.

In Gwinnett County longtime GOP powerhouse Don Balfour faces his first major challenge in the form of Tea Party aligned Steve Ramey. This one could go into “extra innings” with press coverage putting Balfour in the hot seat, a third Republican in the race, and Ramey receiving better than expected support. Odds favor Balfour.

Then there is the wildcard race between longtime transportation and North Fulton hero Brandon Beach taking on the well-funded and powerful Senate leader Chip Rogers. The district sets a political fire stretching from Alpharetta (Fulton) to Woodstock (Cherokee). Odds favor Rogers, but watch for a very active news media with Rogers potentially a target.

North of Atlanta, former DOT board member David Doss leads his Republican challengers in cash on hand and political savvy. But Doss, who can be outspoken, must keep his mouth shut to win this thing…after that he can say (and will) whatever he wants. Odds favor a Doss win.

In other races for the state Senate among Republican contestants, the odds favor: Incumbent Bill Heath, Incumbent Johnny Grant, Incumbent Jack Murphy, incumbent Frank Ginn, and incumbent Cecil Staton.

In an open seat battle, Mark Hatfield is favored…but there may be a McCoy out for blood in that race.

The three big Metro-Atlanta  GOP Senate races are likely to drive turnout in July…particularly in Cobb and Cherokee where numerous House members are also facing Republican primary battles. Expect spending to be at an all-time high in these contested GOP races. The money is all on the dominant Republican side…and so too will be the cable ads, robo-calls, signs and mailers. Some experts expect Cobb and Cherokee turnout to be at an off-year (statewide-wise)  GOP record high, particularly in Cobb where Sunday alcohol sales are on the ballot for a second time in less than six months, due to an error as to ballot distribution.