Special Photo Donna Sheldon is seen here with her grandson Michael Santana. Sheldon is considered a candidate for the District 10 congressional race.
As usual in a race that is still more than a year away, the leader in the polls is actually someone who has not announced a campaign.
Local firm Landmark Communications partnered with Rosetta Stone Communications recently for a new poll on the possible candidates for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss, who announced his retirement.
At the top of the GOP pack is Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, whose name recognition statewide is much higher than the field of potential congressmen expected to mount campaigns.
"There is a great deal of volatility in the Republican field," said Mark Rountree, president of Duluth's Landmark Communications. "If Lt. Gov. Cagle decides to run he would initially lead the pack because he has statewide name recognition. However we also found that, based on our poll question regarding of his job approval, voters don't know as much about him beyond name recognition. That's normal for a down-ticket elected official."
But Rountree added, "The most common response at this early stage was 'undecided.'"
The companies surveyed 483 self-identified Republican primary voters for the poll, conducted for Channel 2 news in Atlanta. It has a 4.5 percent margin of error.
"Voters in metro Atlanta prefer Tom Price," said John Garst, president of Rosetta Stone Communications. "With a tremendous amount of votes coming from the metro counties, you would have to deduct that should Congressman Price enter the Senate race officially, he would be a strong contender."
The only announced candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun from Athens, garnered 10 percent of support, and U.S. Rep Jack Kingston from Savannah got 12 percent. Congressman Phil Gingrey came in at 15 percent, second to Cagle's, 17 percent. But 33 percent of those polled remain undecided.
Potential congressional candidates
We're starting to hear some more speculation about the District 10 congressional race that would replace Broun.
The district includes portions of eastern Gwinnett, so there is no surprise that some Gwinnett names are in the running.
State Rep. Donna Sheldon, the Dacula woman who serves as House Majority Caucus chair, is considered a possible candidate, as is Braselton Mayor Bill Orr.
Columbia County tea party leader Brian Slowinski is the only announced candidate, although former state Sen. John Douglas, who serves on the Newton County Board of Commissioners is said to be in the race.
This week, we spotted Sheldon at the state Capitol with her grandson in tow. The 13-year-old, Michael Santana, acted as a page for the General Assembly and took in a few meetings with his grandmother at the same time.
Santana is a seventh-grader at West Jackson Middle School.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.