Preparing for the SEC Primary

Preparing for the SEC Primary

When Georgians go to the polls for the presidential primary Tuesday, March 1, they’ll get a reminder of recent history.

Although only five Republicans and two Democrats are actively campaigning for the presidency, the Republican ballot has 13 names, and the Democratic offers four because the state can’t redo the forms every time a candidate calls it quits.

Jewish candidates make up half the choices on the Democratic side: Tampa, Fla., lawyer Michael Steinberg as well as Bernie Sanders. Front-runner Hillary Clinton and inactive former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley complete the ballot.

former state Rep. Mitchell Kaye is speaking for businessman Donald Trump. (Read his column here)
former state Rep. Mitchell Kaye is speaking for businessman Donald Trump. (Read his column here)

On the Republican side, the unsuccessful candidates far outnumber those still seeking the nomination. You have to search through Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum to get to the active candidates: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.

Absentee voting in Georgia began Jan. 12. In-person advance voting began Feb. 8 and continues through Friday, Feb. 26, at designated sites in each county (visit to find your site). Polls on March 1 will be open statewide from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

March 1 is the first multistate day in the presidential nomination process. Georgia is one of nine states holding primaries that day, in addition to five states and American Samoa holding caucuses.

In addition to Georgia, primaries that day in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and, arguably, Oklahoma give the campaigning a Southern flavor in what is being called the SEC Primary.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp reported that the early voting in Georgia — 53,016 people voting in person and 10,487 mailing in ballots through Feb. 17 — tracked closely with the numbers from the 2012 presidential election.

“It is great to see that thousands of Georgians are turning out to vote in the SEC Primary,” Kemp said. “This turnout shows that Georgians are excited and engaged in this election.”

He added that a record surge in voter registration by the Feb. 1 deadline also reflected excitement about the SEC Primary.

To help you make your primary choice, we offer four pages of Decision ’16 columns this week. Rather than try to delve into the nuances of each candidate’s positions on multiple issues at this time, the AJT is giving a supporter of each of the remaining candidates a chance to pitch the Jewish community on that candidate.

On the Republican side, former state Rep. Mitchell Kaye is speaking for businessman Donald Trump; real estate investor and lawyer Scott Italiaander for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas; ear, nose and throat physician Jeff Kunkes for Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; and high-tech consultant Dan Israel for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. In addition, real estate developer and contractor David Lefkovits, who supported former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, offers guidance on where Bush backers should go now.

We don’t have a column on behalf of neurosurgeon Ben Carson because of our failure to find someone backing him in the Jewish community — not because there aren’t such people but because we just didn’t ask the right people. However, it’s hard to imagine any path to the nomination for Carson.

On the Democratic side, lawyer and former ACCESS Co-Chair Matthew Weiss writes on behalf of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and AJT circulation director Elizabeth Friedly takes up the case for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Read the Columns

For Donald Trump – Mitchell Kaye

For Ted Cruz – Scott Italiaander

For Marco Rubio – Jeff Kunkes

For John Kasich – Dan Israel

After Jeb Bush – David Lefkovits

For Hillary Clinton – Matthew Weiss

For Bernie Sanders – Elizabeth Friedly

From Michael Steinberg

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