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State GOP Seeks ‘Supermajority’ in Legislature

Democratic House Representatives Bell and Gardner are expected by political observers to be elected to new terms on Tuesday thanks in part to Midtown voters.

Election Day 2012 is here and state Republicans, who already hold 115 of 180 House seats, are looking to win five more in order to attain the two-thirds “supermajority” threshold in the Legislature.

If such happens, Democrats would not be in position to block possible state constitutional changes proposed by GOP members. It’s something that State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) has been actively campaigning against.

On Election Day, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Don't know where to vote in Midtown? Find your poll location and ballot summary here.

In District 58, Bell has served three sessions in the Georgia House of Representatives, after winning a special election in 2009 that made her the first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker in the United States.

Her committee assignments have included: ‘Children and Youth’, ‘Human Relations and Aging’, and ‘State Planning and Community Affairs.’

“On these committees I’m a vocal proponent of the social justice and human rights implications of legislation, as it relates to women, children, the elderly, working families, the poor and the middle class,” she states.

After a hard-fought (but convincing, 58.84 percent to 41.14 percent) Democratic primary win over a fellow incumbent Rep. Ralph Long in July, Bell is expected by observers to defeat Republican challenger Earl Cooper of Midtown on Tuesday.

Posts from Bell on her Facebook page say that she has been “working across the state to get Democrats elected to the state house and STOP the Republican super majority.” And she’s ready to celebrate a campaign win, too, as she posted Friday: 

“Let's close the deal! We celebrated VICTORY in the July primary, now let's make it official. Please remember to cast your final vote for Rep. Simone Bell on Tuesday, November 6.”

In explaining to Patch why he is running, Cooper said, "District 58 needs and must change. I believe it's time that the local representative step beyond the state capitol walls and start dealing with some of our local needs and issues.”

Cooper has campaigned to address crime and school issues among others utilizing accountability, oversight, and transparency.

“The 58th district will be the first to feel and see the benefits from my leadership,” he said. “Not a special interest group…but the interest of my district. Not my political party…but the district I represent.”

A total of 14 Senate seats and 43 House seats are being contested for Tuesday, although political observers feel only a few races will be close.

State Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta), who has represented District 57 for almost 12 years, is running unopposed. The district currently includes many Northeast Atlanta neighborhoods including Midtown, Morningside and most of Virginia-Highland.

After a career of teaching and mental health advocacy, Gardner told Patch she believes healthcare is a relevant issue to all of the new District 57, "I feel very strongly that we need to make sure that people have access to healthcare," she said.

Gardner defeated State Rep. Rashad Taylor, after both were redrawn into the same district, 62.77 percent to 37.23 percent in this summer’s Democratic primary. Kwabena “Cubby” Nkromo is running as a write-in candidate Tuesday with the Green Party of Georgia to be elected State Representative in District 57.

Former state representative ‘Able’ Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta) defeated Ken Britt during the July primary and will replace retiring District 56 incumbent Kathy Ashe. There is no Republican candidate running today in District 56, which is a diagonal shaped district running from northeast to southwest Atlanta including Piedmont Heights, Ansley Park, Georgia Tech, and parts of Midtown.

Elsewhere, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) will face Republican Howard Stopeck of Virginia-Highland for the 5th District seat.

Also on the ballot, voters will be able to indicate support or opposition for stopping unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators.

Georgians will also be able to vote on two tax-related issues: adoption of an income tax credit for home energy costs and a reduction of sales taxes on products made in Georgia to help small businesses.

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