Price resigned from Congress after the U.S. Senate confirmed him as President Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary Feb. 10.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced the election date within hours of Price’s switch from the legislative to the executive branch, and qualifying for the ballot was held Monday to Wednesday, Feb. 13 to 15.
Sweeping from East Cobb through North Fulton to North DeKalb, the 6th District encompasses one of the core areas of Jewish Atlanta.
The district has long elected Republicans to Congress. Before Price, Sen. Johnny Isakson held the seat, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the 6th’s representative before Isakson. John James Flynt Jr. in 1976 was the last Democrat elected by the 6th, which had different borders then.
Eleven of the candidates for April’s election are Republicans: Judson Hill, who had to resign from the state Senate to run; Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan, who hopes to be the first Muslim Republican in Congress; William Llop, who lost in the GOP primary in the 11th District last year; Dan Moody, a former state senator; Keith Grawert, an Air National Guard pilot and Air Force veteran; Amy Kremer, an East Cobb activist; Bob Gray, a Johns Creek City Council member and tech business executive; Bruce LeVell, a jeweler who led Trump’s national diversity efforts last year; David Abroms, a Jewish entrepreneur in the energy industry; Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state who also has run for Senate and governor; and Kurt Wilson, a small-business man who is challenging fellow candidates to join him in signing a term-limits pledge. Tom Price’s wife, state Rep. Betty Price, announced Wednesday that she is not running.
Five Democrats are on the ballot: Jon Ossoff, a former congressional staffer who is Jewish and has the backing of Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis and the Daily Kos; Ron Slotin, a Jewish former state senator whose campaign kickoff is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Hudson Grille in Sandy Springs; Richard Keatley, a Navy veteran and college professor; Rebecca Quigg, a cardiologist and health reform advocate; and Ragin Edwards, who works in sales in the tech industry. Another prominent Democrat, former state Rep. Sally Harrell, announced in December that she was running, but changed her mind.
The field also includes two independents: Alexander Hernandez, who works in film production and has positioned himself as a progressive; and Andre Pollard, a computer systems engineer who presents himself as the first candidate of the Tech Party.
If no one gets a majority April 18, which seems certain with so many candidates, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff June 20.
The $5,220 qualifying fee is likely to be a small percentage of the cost to win the seat. With all the candidates on the same primary ballot, they’ll have to fund-raise and spend heavily to stand out from the crowd, and Democrats see an opportunity to flip the seat by making it a referendum on Trump. If the runoff pits a Democrat reaches that heads-up contest in the Republican-leaning district, national attention and money are expected to pour into what could be seen as the first electoral test of the Trump administration.