Johnson, Carter to battle for 4th district title in November.
Well what can be said about last night’s primary results. Vernon got whacked by an incumbent who will probably return to Washington for yet another term. Liz Carter beat down her competition, and will now become the Republican’s sacrificial lamb in November.
I saw a district, and moreover a county outright reject Vernon Jones. I was one of only a handful of people who thought Jones could push Johnson to a run-off. I was wrong. I was wrong by a more than 2 to 1 vote tally. Going into Tuesday, my confidence in a Jones/Johnson run-off had waned a bit, but I still thought he would make a race of it. I had talked to a couple of people in the Jones campaign, and they told me that they felt if they could run well in Rockdale, they could challenge Johnson in DeKalb, especially South DeKalb. As I watched results start to roll in around 830, Rockdale was going solidly with Johnson. As the night wore on, Rockdale was giving Johnson a comfortable 2 to 1 edge. It never got any closer. By the time I got to Jones possible victory party around 1030 in South DeKalb, It seemed like the votes just were not going to come in. It could be a few weeks before detailed data is available on the SOS site, but I am interested to know what precincts Vernon won. When I talked with a person close to the race in the 4th district the weekend prior to the vote, they told me that Jones would not even make the run-off. I asked why? Their response was that voters in the 4th district do not have short memories. All the baggage that Vernon carried into this race was just too heavy a load for voters to just put away.
I know that Johnson was the incumbent, but he really thumbed his nose at the voters of this district. He put very little effort in this and took for granted that voters would give him a victory. For me this is a turn off. He only attended one forum held in the district, and public appearances were few and far between. In other words, Johnson was more than just confident of a win, he was downright cocky. That was evidenced by his line on ajc.com that he was never really concerned about this race and his desire to get back to Washington as early as possible. Come on Congressman, you can do us better than that. If he was not concerned about the primary, then he must be absolute giddy that he is facing a Republican in a district that has been slobbering over Democrats for nearly 15 years.
In the Republican race, there was only one surprise, and that was that Larry Gause actually put up a fight. Though he was summarily beaten down by a campaign that had made itself the front runner by being a part of any conversation about the 4th, Gause’s vote tally was impressive. When this whole thing started who the heck knew who Liz Carter was. I know I didn’t. Now she is in the championship round, a veritable Cinderella if you may. How long will it be before the carriage falls back to a pumpkin, and the glass slipper comes falling off? I don’t see how Liz is going to get the votes needed to advance on to Congress. She is going to have to convert not just independents; she is going to have to pull a sizeable chunk of Democrats as well. Just look at these numbers: 57, 61, 60, 77, 63, 75, and 99. These represent the percentage of votes won for the Democrat candidate since 1996. It is truly going to be an uphill battle, especially since she did not draw Vernon Jones. I can’t wait to see how she works through this.
As for the other candidates, Cory Ruth and Victor Amendariz flamed out both manages to get just over a thousand votes. Actually Amendariz got more votes than Ruth, so on the Republican side Ruth was the biggest loser. On the Democrat side, Connie Stokes brought up the rear, but kept it close with Vernon until the end. She still has some time left in her career, she may make a few runs at Hank before it is all said and done.