On the senate side, Saxby Chambliss will be up for re-election, as well as every single republican statewide officeholder who won last year in the GOP Tsunami.
So who could step up to the plate for the democrats here in Georgia?
There are alot of different scenarios that could arise when 2014 rolls around, but let's take a stab at it.
On the senate side, two names comes to mind when talking about a possible challenge to Chambliss. (1) Former Congressman Jim Marshall & (2) Michael Thurmond.
Marshall was done in more by the Tsunami that swept Georgia just like it did all over the country than the campaign strategy of Austin Scott in my opinion. Marshall, a moderately conservative democrat haven't ruled out another & final run for office & since he has served in the House of Representatives, only the senate remain in his sights. It won't be the first time Marshall & Chambliss squared off against each other. In 2000, Marshall, then mayor of Macon lost to then-congressman Chambliss by 59-41%. Both men had a good working relationship while Marshall was in Washington because of common interest like RAFB, Agriculture, etc.
Thurmond left a "safe" seat in Labor Commissioner to take on popular Johnny Isakson for the senate. Looking back at the election in november, Thurmond would have gotten swept out of office just like all of the other democrats in the south despite his stellar record as Labor Commish. Thurmond ran a lackluster campaign with weak fundraising to boot. I seriously doubt that's the way Thurmond wants to be remembered. I made the suggestion last year that Thurmond remain at Labor to then run for the senate against Chambliss in 2014.
Governor: Nathan Deal perhaps became the weakest candidate to become governor of Georgia in decades with one allegation after another hanging over his head. Any other year, he might not have won the election for governor with all those things swirling around him. There are three potential candidates for the democrats.
(1) Former Lt Governor candidate & Businesswoman Carol Porter (2) Former State Rep DuBose Porter (3) Jim Marshall (4) Michael Thurmond
Porter (Carol) bust onto the scene with her passionate speech to the NFIB last summer in place of her husband & candidate DuBose Porter. After that, on her own terms she decided to run for Lt Governor due to no other democrat stepping up to the plate. She got just as many votes as did Roy Barnes on a budget that was barely $1 million dollars. She has left a built in base of grassroots support in Georgia. If she decides to run, she will need to shore up Central & South Georgia, where she didn't spend quite as much time at in comparison to Metro Atlanta & North Georgia.
Porter (DuBose) was unsuccessful in his first bid at statewide office. Porter had been a state legislator out of Central Ga since 1982 before giving up his seat to run for governor. Porter is one of the few remaining white, rural democrats still left in the party after 9 others bolted to the GOP. With Roy Barnes political career now a done deal, 2014 maybe the year Porter decides to give it one more try. Plus he's only 57 years old, so he still has alot of political fight left in him. Especially with Education being targeted yet again by the GOP he will have a issue to run with.
Marshall could run for governor & be successful at it. He shares the same central Georgia base along with Carol & Dubose Porter . Having represented a district that ran from the Atl suburbs to the Ga-Fla State line, his connections will be a plus if he guns for the governorship.
Thurmond had eyes on running for governor last year. That was before Thurbert Baker got in the race, which threw a wrench in those plans. Thurmond's communication skills & ability to connect on a personal level with hard working families makes him a threat. He will have to do a better job at fundraising & building a better grassroots organization on the ground
Lt Governor: Casey Cagle at first was thought to run for governor, but had a change of heart & decided to stay at Lt Gov due to "health" issues. He could be a candidate for governor if Deal who is 68 decides not to run for re-election in 2014. Cagle was stripped of most of his power by the GOP majority in the senate, making him ineffective.
Potential candidates here include: (1) Cattle Farmer & State Senator J.B. Powell (2) Former State Rep Rob Teilhet (3) Former Gubernatorial candidate Carl Camon (4) Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver (5) Thurbert Baker
Powell ran for agriculture commissioner last year losing to Gary Black. Powell, a conservative democrat, a country boy was State Senator of the 23rd District. He could mount another run for his old seat next year. He could have another democratic challenger for that seat in Chuck Pardue of Rural Richmond County. Powell's aw-shucks persona & bluecollar background will appeal to bluecollar types who reside in rural Georgia. A+ rating from NRA
Teilhet, a young energetic democrat lost to South Georgia Democrat Ken Hodges for the nomination for Attorney General. Teilhet future in politics is still bright. He hails from Cobb County where he was succeeded by Stacey Godfrey-Evans in the Statehouse. At age 36, Teilhet is someone to keep an eye on. He could run for Attorney General again, but who knows.
Camon is the former mayor of Ray City, Ga located in Berrien County. Camon, a conservative democrat had a message that resonated with alot of voters, but when you don't have $ behind you, it makes it hard for the rest of the state to hear your message. Camon is the new blood that the party needs to re-invigorate itself after a demoralizing defeat at the polls in 2010. The former USAF Veteran & Gulf War Veteran is a man of deep faith, which scares the hell out of many democrats who aren't so much into religion. I was sold on Camon when I first met him at a outing over in Houston Co back in 2009. At age 41, he's has a future in Georgia Politics. He was recognized as Georgia Trend's top 40 under 40 a few years ago
Coperhaver is the mayor of Georgia's second largest city, Augusta. He was first elected in 2005 to carry out a unexpired term & later elected in 2006 & 2010 as a independent. In 2003, he was recognized by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of Georgia’s “Top Forty Under Forty”. In 2006 and 2008, he was named a Notable Georgian by Georgia Trend Magazine and in 2007, 2009,2010 and 2011 was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. Although a independent, Coperhaver could be persuaded to run as a democratic moderate if he so chooses to run for higher office in the future. At age 43, he is a very attractive candidate to run statewide.
Baker ran & lost the nomination for governor last year. He was the Attorney General, appointed by then governor Zell Miller in 1997. Baker a centrist with a conservative streak may want to give it another try three years from now. Baker co-sponsered the two strikes law & has gotted a A+ rating from NRA
Its never soon to speculate, but as of right now these are the names that comes to mind in talking about 2014 for Georgia Democrats.