As the battle for state House District 117 heats up, Atlanta-area Democrats are joining fellow party members in Athens, and even a former Republican lawmaker, in donating money to Republican Regina Quick. Tom Crawford reports that a recent Atlanta fundraiser’s host committee “included such Democratic lawmakers as Rep. Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), as well as former Atlanta City Council member Panke Bradley Miller. Bob Smith, a Watkinsville Republican who represented Oconee County for 12 years before stepping down from the Georgia House, was another of the honorary hosts for the event.”

Last month, the Athens Banner-Herald’s Blake Aued, brought the news that several prominent Athens Democrats were backing Quick, as well. Prominent donations came from Athens Mayor Nancy Denson and former state Sen. Doug Haines.

Quick, an Athens attorney, is running against three-term incumbent Rep. Doug McKillip, who switched parties shortly after the 2010 election. Democrats vowed retribution, going as far as holding seminars dedicated to defeating their former cohort, but failed to field a candidate in the newly redrawn 117th district. While the campaign cash that would have been flowing to a Democratic opponent will, in all likelihood, do well to keep Quick’s warchest full, time will only tell if accepting donations from such prominent Democrats will undermine her basis for challenging McKillip in a district that is decidedly Republican.

For his part, McKillip’s backing in the primary has consisted of public endorsements from such figures as House Speaker David Ralston, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudges and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. Following his authoring and sponsorship of H.B. 954, the so-called “fetal pain” pro-life bill, in the 2012 session of the General Assembly, he also picked up the endorsement of Georgia Right to Life.

-Brandon Howell