The upcoming “jungle primary” which will help determine one of two U.S. Senate seats for the state of Georgia is unique for multiple reasons.
First, a “jungle primary” will have all candidates, regardless of party, listed together at one time. There are no separate primaries similar to the one which saw Republican incumbent David Perdue unopposed and Democrat Jon Ossoff emerge the winner from a field of six challengers.
Perdue and Ossoff, along with Libertarian Shane Hazel, will meet November in the general election.
For the seat occupied by Republican Kelly Loeffler, things are much different. Not only must Loeffler defeat her GOP challengers, she must also defeat numerous Democrats. For good measure Loeffler must also gain more votes than several independents, a Libertarian (who is also endorsed by the Constitution Party) and a Green Party challenger.
The number of candidates in this “jungle primary” takes all of one’s fingers and toes to count, so a runoff is all but a certainty. Loeffler was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Brian Kemp and her gift of the position has been anything but smooth.
Loeffler was not the choice of President Trump for the vacancy. Trump preferred congressman Doug Collins, who has been a long-time ally of the president. Ironically, Collins threw his hat into the race and is one of the candidates facing Loeffler this November.
Loeffler meanwhile really appears uncomfortable in the role of U.S. Senator. She brags about her “accomplishments” such as voting against impeachment and being a supporter of Trump. To be frank, if those are the best things Loeffler can put front and center, then she is likely in trouble in November. Recent poll numbers, in fact, show her in a tough fight not only with Collins but with Democrat Matt Lieberman (son of former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman) and others.
Republican Kandiss Taylor has also built a solid grassroots campaign and could be a surprise candidate in the race. Democrat Raphael Warnock has the support of many powerful members of his party.
If nothing else, this “jungle primary” contest offers voters the ultimate menu of choice in terms of candidates. Due to the setup, third party candidates as well as independent are on a level playing field in terms of being on the ballot.
Similar to their Democratic and Republican foes, these candidates only had to pay a qualifying fee to ensure themselves a position on the ballot.
It’s not always that way. Third party candidates in Georgia face some of the strictest ballot access laws in the country. The reason is simple. Democrats and Republicans typically work together to guarantee they will not have third party opposition.
Both establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans spoke of not wanting their designated candidates having opposition from within their own party. Those requests fell on deaf ears, as they should have.
More choice is a good thing in all aspects of life. That is especially true when we vote. We have a multitude of choices in the “jungle primary” for U.S. Senate and it can only be viewed as a positive thing. When our only choice is “Tweedle Dee” or “Tweedle Dumb” then we all lose, regardless of who happens to win the election in question.
Chris Bridges is a former sports editor for The Covington News and The Walton Tribune. He welcomes feedback at email@example.com.