Is This a Preview of a Possible HD 80 GOP Primary?

We’re not even two weeks past Democrat Taylor Bennett’s defeat of J. Max Davis in a runoff for the Georgia House District 80 seat vacated by Mike Jacobs, yet already there is talk of possible Republican challengers for 2016.

One possible candidate is Meagan Hanson, the former chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans. Hanson recently lost a bid to become chairman of the Young Republicans National Federation. In a post last night on her campaign Facebook page, Hanson said,

Almost two weeks ago, Georgia House District 80 elected Democrat Taylor Bennett as our Representative to the General Assembly. Since that time, I have received numerous calls, text messages, and other communications encouraging me to run for this seat.

While I have not yet made my final decision, David and I are giving this endeavor serious consideration and plan to make a decision in the upcoming weeks. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Ultimately, I want what’s best for the people of Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Sandy Springs– and that’s for us to nominate a strong Republican committed to representing the interests of HD 80 in the General Assembly.

An obvious candidate for the GOP nomination is Catherine Bernard, who lost to Davis in the first round. Bernard was in attendance at Saturday’s Barrow County Republican Party barbecue, and was asked about a possible Hanson candidacy. Bernard responded that she wasn’t sure if Hanson was as familiar with the issues that were of concern to District 80 residents as she was.

Is Bernard in for another try for the District 80 seat? This tweet was sent Sunday morning by Nydia Tisdale, who was also at the Barrow GOP event.


The tweet was later deleted, so a Catherine Bernard run may not be official yet. However, no one should be surprised if and when she jumps in.


  1. northside101 says:

    Bennett hasn’t even cast a single vote at the Gold Dome—and won’t for another four and a half months til the Legislature returns to session on or about January 10—and already candidates talking about running. No rest for the politically weary I guess!

    Bennett’s 55% is probably about par for the Democratic maximum in this district—especially given that Democratic statewide candidates only averaged little over 40% here in 2014 and Obama took just 43% here. Being an incumbent next year, Bennett should be assured of the 43% Obama base here plus a few points for incumbency, maybe giving him a solid base of 45-46% here.
    It will be interesting to see how presidential politics influences this contest—for Bennett, having Bernie Sanders at the top of the D ticket would probably not be helpful (this is one of Georgia’s wealthiest State House districts so redistribution of wealth and higher taxes on the wealthy not likely to sell here). For the Republican House nominee, a Bush, Rubio or Kasich presidential nominee would help more than a true-blood social conservative (like a Huckabee, Santorum or Ted Cruz, though admittedly highly unlikely the first two have any real shot at the presidential nomination.) Keep in mind the district is liberal on social issues—82% for Sunday retail alcohol sales a few years ago and against “Personhood” (question on GOP 2012 ballot).

    Also in question is whether the DeKalb GOP in HD 80 can get its act together, following divisions in the county party between the establishment, Ron Paul and Tea Party types. Not something GOP can afford given the solid majority of HD 80 voters are in the DeKalb portion of the district.

  2. Going to predict that this will be a very tough district for the GOP to take back. First of all Nunn got nearly 46% here. High water mark for sure, but people actually knew who she was. They do not know the “average” statewide candidate. They will know Taylor Bennett.

    So start with 45%, factor in that Mike Jacobs as a Democrat used to out-poll Democratic performance in this area by 10 points easy, and no offense to Jacobs, Taylor’s profile is way better to start with.

    Then add in two things – new day in Brookhaven – voters in this area are weary of the establishment and that means Republicans. So I think they’ll be on the lookout for someone who can balance the Yes/Davis/go along to get along crowd of the last fews years. It won’t hurt that Brookhaven will likely have a new mayor (John Ernst) who will be friendly to Bennett. That will go a long way. And finally, this is exactly the type of moderate district that will eat up balance at the statehouse. As long as there is a Republican governor and majority, I don’t think they’ll really have a problem at all sending a Democrat for balance – think about it, they want not for pork (they’re rich) so the usual appeals of being in the majority will mostly fall on deaf ears.

    Good luck Taylor – play your cards right you’ll be there a while.

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