One thing’s for certain in the turbulent world of Georgia politics: John F. Kennedy will hold a state Senate seat.
Outside of the famous name, the soon-to-be Georgia senator has little in common with the slain U.S. president. The Macon attorney’s middle name is Flanders, not Fitzgerald, and he’s a conservative Baptist Republican, rather than a liberal Catholic Democrat.
Like most other members of the Georgia Legislature, Kennedy will take office without opposition in the general election. Kennedy beat Spencer Price in the Republican primary to replace retiring incumbent Cecil Stanton, and has no Democratic opposition.
That’s the norm in Georgia. A single candidate is running unopposed for 41 out of 56 Senate seats, 15 Democrats and 26 Republicans, according to the online political almanac Ballotpedia.
The Georgia House elections show the same lopsided picture: Single candidates are running for 147 out of 180 seats. That total of 81.7 percent unopposed includes 52 Democrats, 94 Republicans and independent Rusty Kidd, Ballotpedia found.
The overwhelming number of safe seats reflects another sure thing: Republicans will keep iron control of the House and Senate. If Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter pulls off an upset win over GOP incumbent Nathan Deal, he will have to get his programs through a Republican-dominated Legislature. Republicans now hold 38 out of 56 Senate seats, and 118 out of 180 House seats.
There will be some turnover, though. A total of seven incumbent Senators, five Republicans, didn’t seek re-election. In the House, 10 incumbents, eight of them Republican, decided to leave office.
Unopposed Republicans will replace outgoing GOP incumbents in all but one district. In the sole contested race, Democrat Bikram Mohanty is battling Republican C. Ellis Black for the District 8 seat vacated by GOP incumbent Tim Golden. Mohanty ran a strong race against Golden in 2012.
Among the two Senate seats formerly held by Democratic incumbents, there’s one two-party contest, in Carter’s 42nd District, where Democrat Elena Parent is favored to defeat Republican Greg Williams.
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