A closer look at the 2018 race for Secretary of State

By Vlada Galan

The ripple effects of the upcoming 2018 election cycle have already caused many seats to be vacated. Many races gained significant exposure, while others continue to fly under the radar. However, one significant race that has not received much attention is the race to replace Republican Brian Kemp as the Georgia Secretary of State, who announced his candidacy for the Governor's race.

While the race hasn’t received a lot of attention, its importance should not be understated. Well-noted Georgia campaign strategist Joel McElhannon said the office is "one of the most important and misunderstood positions in state government." 

"The Secretary is ultimately responsible for making sure the elections process works well and for insuring that the hundreds of thousands of small business owners and employees that need professional licenses can get to work," McElhannon said. "A great deal of the work involved is highly technical and in many ways the Secretary has his or her hands tied by outdated legislation and significant underfunding each year. Brian Kemp has built a strong legacy by focusing on using technology to improve every aspect of the office’s operations. The next Secretary will have a strong foundation to build upon to keep Georgia moving forward.”

So who exactly will step up to the plate?

Many candidates have already thrown their hats into the ring; on the Republican side, State Representative Buzz Brockway, followed by Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle, and a candidate that may have deeper pockets than most think, and State Representative Brad Raffensperger have all entered the race. On the Democratic side, State Representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler and R.J. Hadley indicated they plan to run. Additionally, there may be one more big-name diving into this race.

Recent rumors have surfaced that State Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus could soon announce a surprise bid for the seat. McKoon announced in early January that he would not seek re-election at the expiration of his term. It was clear, however, he held aspirations to seek higher office even before he made that decision. Many believed that he was considering a run for Governor or Attorney General, but the Governor’s race is already quite crowded with several big-name candidates. In recent weeks, Mckoon has shied away from the idea of entering the crowded field.

He is rumored to announce his candidacy for Secretary of State in July; perhaps to miss the June 30th filing deadline. Sources close to zpolitics would not confirm nor deny these rumors, but did say that McKoon entering the race is a very real possibility.

Let the Hunger Games begin as Georgia faces the 2018 election cycle. Survival of the fittest in the name of the game.