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05 January 2009

A Primer For The 35th State Senate District

State Sen. Kasim Reed is running for Mayor of Atlanta and whether he wins or loses, there is one absolute certainty. . .

. . . Reed will have to give up his seat in the state Senate the day he qualifies as a mayoral candidate later on this year. The state Constitution mandates it.

As a registered voter of the state Senate district Reed represents, I've been paying close attention to the Atlanta Democrat's actions even to the point of speculating when he would give up his seat. Logically, I thought that Sen. Reed would likely step down in 2008 so that he could focus on raising money and running for mayor full time.

Obviously, I was wrong.

The current speculation, from at least one individual who has spoken with Reed, is that he will step down at the conclusion of the 2009 legislative session. If this conjecture is correct, then voters in the 35th state Senate district --which includes south Fulton County and a portion of Douglas County-- will likely head to the polls over the summer to fill the vacant seat.

South Fulton businessman Benny Crane has indicated that he is running for the seat.

Crane, who was a leading advocate for the City of South Fulton, would be making his second run for the state Senate. In 2002, Crane finished third in a field of five for the 35th district seat left open when Donzella James became a candidate for Congress.

Former state Sen. Donzella James has also hinted that she may run in the special election.

James served eight years as the state Senator from the 35th district during which she chaired the Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee. Whether she was running for re-election to the state Senate or seeking a higher office, James has appeared on the ballot consistently since 1994.

The issues in the 35th district will be centered around the economy (the loss of jobs from the Hapeville Ford Motors plant closure & the high foreclosure rates in the area), education (the continuing achievement gap between schools in north and south Fulton counties) and crime

The campaign is going to be very fast and the eventual victor will be the person who has their team ready to hit the ground running the second Sen. Reed vacates the seat.

Any questions?

Full Disclosure: I've been talking to Benny Crane on and off about this race for the last eighteen months including putting him in contact with some direct mail firms and voter file vendors.