Coming on the heels of Athens state Rep. Doug McKillip’s 64 vote defeat at the hands of primary challenger Regina Quick, the Georgia Democratic Party has swiftly laid claim to credit for Quick’s win.
A press release included this:
Election analysis suggests that well over 1,000 Democrats crossed party lines to vote against McKillip in the Republican primary. The Democratic House Caucus and the State Party helped promote the effort, and progressive activists in Clarke County enthusiastically responded.
“We’d love to have a Democrat running in that race, but redistricting made the seat much more conservative,” Berlon acknowledged. “Instead, we focused our efforts on increasing Democratic turnout in a Republican primary, an extremely difficult thing to do.” Ironically, the effort’s success came from many of the same Democratic incumbents that McKillip had once helped to lead. “The Democratic House Caucus’ political efforts were extremely effective this cycle,” said Berlon.
Last week, it was documented that House Democrats had blasted a mailer to Democrats in Athens urging them to hold their breath and “vote for anyone but Doug McKillip”. Quick’s campaign apparatus itself had previously disclosed donations from prominent Democratic lawmakers including Rep. Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), as well as Athens Mayor Nancy Denson.
As the previously mentioned press release notes, McKillip switched parties shortly after running unopposed for a third term in 2010, then as a Democrat.
In an email, a state Republican operative had this retort, directed at the assertion that redistricting had made the seat too conservative for Democrats to field a candidate:
…the new HD 117 (25% minority) went just 54% for Deal in 2010. If that’s “too conservative” for them to field a candidate, I would hate to see the candidate recruitment in other swing districts.
Though McKillip possessed legal grounds to request a recount, he has declined to do so.
[Full Disclosure: Prior to beginning my current job, I had a brief stint as McKillip's campaign manager.]