Campaign Watch: With 9 months to go before the May primary, the Chuck Hufstetler/Luke Martin state Senate race will draw state attention. Plus: Qualifying for municipal elections open Monday.

Campaign Watch: With 9 months to go before the May primary, the Chuck Hufstetler/Luke Martin state Senate race will draw state attention. Plus: Qualifying for municipal elections open Monday.

State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome.
Luke Martin, chair of the Floyd County Republican Party and former assistant district attorney.

 

While the projected Wendy Davis/Marjorie Taylor Greene congressional showdown  in November 2022 is getting a ton of buzz, there’s a new undercard if you will: Chuck Hufstetler vs. Luke Martin in the May 2022 GOP primary for state Senate.

There are a ton of what-if’s out there between now and next year’s races but the Senate District 52 showdown will draw statewide, if not national interests.

Hufstetler, who had been out of politics after major success on the Floyd County Commission, stepped into the 2012 Senate race and has been there since. He’s risen to leadership positions, in part because he sees things the way they are and not because of party lines or pressures from state leaders. A fiscal conservative, he’s also been an advocate for bucking some party beliefs when it comes to healthcare and other issues. Hufstetler continues to serve as chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

On Wednesday, Hufstetler confirmed he’s running for a new term representing Floyd County as well as parts of Bartow, Gordon and Chattooga counties.

Martin, who recently resigned as an assistant district attorney, was coy about whether he planned to run for the Senate, something that was speculated as he exited the courthouse. That changed with Wednesday’s announcement on the heels of the Republican rally at the fairgrounds Saturday. He has cozied up to the more conservative branch of the GOP and much of what it embraces.

Several lines in his campaign announcement made his lineage pretty clear: “I’m running for State Senate to put America first and represent the people of northwest Georgia with the tenacity we need to stand up to the radical left and RINO Republicans.”

Or to put it in English: A Reagan Republican (Hufstetler) vs. a Trump Republican (Martin). That’s why state and national eyes will be watching, especially after the results of November 2020 and January 2021.

The lobbying for Martin began soon after his announcement; the emails and texts since Wednesday afternoon have swung in Hufstetler’s favor. The first indicator will be whether Martin can play catchup with campaign finances. As of June 30, Hufstetler had nearly $200,000 in the campaign account plus a solid reputation inside the district and under the Gold Dome.

The best bet here: Crank up the popcorn machine. This will get interesting very quickly.


Municipal elections: See how they run.

ROME

Qualifying begins Monday: In Rome, three seats from Ward 2 on the City Commission are on the ballot.

The incumbents: Wendy Davis, Jamie Doss and Randy Quick. Davis has announced she’s running for House District 14 in Congress in 2022 so she’ll complete her second term but not seek a third four-year term on the commission. Elaina Beeman, a member of the school board since 2014, says she’ll run for a Ward 2 seat.

All seven seats on the city of Rome Board of Education. One spot will open as Beeman enters the commission race.

  • What to know: Qualifing is set for 8:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 16, and closes at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20.

CAVE SPRING

Qualifying for three city council seats in Cave Spring. Incumbents Nellie McCain, Nancy Fricks and Charles Jackson “probably” will seek re-election. Qualifying is open Monday through Wednesday at Cave Spring City Hall. For more.

POLK COUNTY

Qualifying is Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m.-noon. Source: Polk County Board of Elections.

  • Aragon: Two city council seats.
  • Rockmart: Three city council seats.
  • Cedartown: Three at-large city commission seats.

CALENDAR

  • Aug. 16-20: Qualifying for Rome City Commission and School Board. Set for 8:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 16, and close at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20. The ballot includes the three Ward 2 seats on the city commission and all seven School Board seats.
  • Oct. 4: Last day for new or lapsed voters to register to vote in the general election on Nov. 2.
  • Oct. 12: Advance voting begins.
  • Oct. 23-24: The Saturday is the mandatory weekend day to vote in advance; the 24th is the optional Sunday balloting.
  • Nov. 2: Election day, precincts open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
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