Monday, September 12, 2005

House 115: McKillip Jumps In

The ABH is reporting today that semi-local lawyer Doug McKillip is officially a candidate for Jane Kidd's vacant State House seat. (Kidd, of course, is movin' on up into the race for Brian Kemp's vacant State Senate seat.)

We'll admit that we don't know much about Doug McKillip; he's run unsuccessfully for State House in the past (in 2000, he lost to Ralph Hudgins by about 8%). He also, according to the ABH, owns a side business building houses, which might leave him open to charges of being friendly to developers. Those charges would probably come from potential Democratic challengers, since everybody knows that the GOP is somewhat less-than-credible on development issues.

Here's a few things we like about McKillip, who we don't know, based on what we've read:
  • Big issues for him include overturning the BS tort reform bill that passed under the Gold Dome last year, as well as strengthening environmental laws in Georgia. We like that last part, because it reminds us fondly of another environmentally-minded lawyer from Athens named Doug, who, unfortunately was a much better legislator than he was a candidate.
  • He's savvy enough to have jumped in early, which, if he does his job and starts raising money now, should give him pretty much unfettered access to state and local trial lawyer money.
  • He's not really, and this is our favorite thing so far, part of the Athens Democratic Elite (TM). Heck, he probably even skips Clarke County Democratic Party meetings from time to time. For all the good that Jane Kidd did last year in the State House, she is very much the Democratic establishment candidate. We're excited to see someone who is more of an outsider jump in this early.
So, Doug, if you're reading this, or if you're reading this, and you know Doug McKillip, feel free to hit us up with an email and tell us a little more about you.

The big question mark in this race, by the way, is Bill Cowsert. Cowsert, as you politically astute readers probably remember, ran against Jane Kidd in 2004. Considering the numbers in the district, he didn't do half bad either. If Cowsert is smart, he'll run for the State Senate seat, where the large number of Republicans in Oconee County, and his closeness with incumbent Brian Kemp, can help him out. We think Jane will still beat him if he runs for Senate, but that's a different topic for a different post. In any event, as of now, Bill is keeping his cards pretty close to his vest.

If he gets in the House race though, look for an interesting campaign. Cowsert's folksy, friendly style plays well with just about everyone, mostly because he actually is a genuinely nice guy (who also, unfortunately, happens to be wrong on just about every issue). Your crack editorial staff here at Athens Politics are about as Democratic as they come, and we admit it, it's hard not to like the guy.

Of course, all of that Cowsert talk sort of assumes that McKillip is the nominee, which isn't a sure thing either. The ABH article mentions two possible challengers on the Democratic side, and we'd bet our moonboots that one or two more names will emerge in coming months.

Bottom line, this seat is about as sure a Democratic lock as any you'll find in Georgia. So, barring the entrance of a superstar Republican candidate, the real battle for this seat will be in the Democratic primary.

Tips, rumors, gossip, half-baked ideas.

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