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Republicans Line Up for Open Seats in Georgia | Farm Team

“Once Congressman Westmoreland retires, Chance would be at the top of the list,” Vaughan said, adding that Chance, “has great knowledge and experience from being floor leader, economic development chair, finance chair and majority leader, all while only having been in the state Senate for fewer than 10 years.”

Democrats on the Move

Democratic consultants in Georgia rattled off a long list of viable candidates for the open seats.

Potential Democratic Senate candidates in 2014 include:

• State Rep. Scott Holcomb, an Iraq War veteran who is finishing his MBA.

• Michelle Nunn, CEO of the volunteer organization Points of Light and daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn.

• State Sen. Doug Stoner, whose 2012 race determined whether Georgia Republicans got a constitutional majority in state government and who has been mentioned as a potential candidate to fill Gingrey’s seat.

But many of the state’s other standouts will likely hold out for future opportunities.

They include:

• State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, the first woman to lead either one of the state chambers and a tax attorney who writes romance and detective novels on the side.

• State Rep. James Beverly, an optometrist from the Macon area who gives free eye exams and helps build low-income housing for area residents.

• Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan, the first Asian-American and openly gay man elected to the city council.

• State Sen. Jason Carter, the grandson of President Jimmy Carter. The senator is also the cousin of James Carter, the Democratic opposition researcher who released the “47 percent” video of Mitt Romney speaking at a private fundraiser.

Other state legislators who may not be ready this cycle, but who will be attractive candidates in the state down the line include:

• State Rep. Stacey Evans, who along with Jason Carter helped found Red Clay Democrats, a fundraising organization for Georgia Democrats.

• State Rep. David Wilkerson, an accountant who was the first African-American to serve as chairman of the Cobb County Democratic Party.

• Freshman state Rep. Spencer Frye, who has a strong fundraising base in the Athens area.

• State Rep. Margaret Kaiser of the Atlanta area.

With such a deep bench, state Democrats are excited for their opportunities down the line.

“Georgia is turning blue,” Georgia Democratic Party Communications Director Eric Gray said. “Most prognosticators say by 2020 this will be a Democratic state. So for every year we can make it happen sooner is just a testament to the strength of the Democratic Party down here.”

Farm Team is a state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress. The column runs on Thursdays.

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