POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Handel, Kingston top Gwinnett GOP straw polls

Camie Young

Camie Young

The race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss could still be up in the air for Republicans, as two recent Gwinnett straw polls showed entirely different results.

Crowds asked at two big local events gave the advantage to two different candidates, with former Secretary of State Karen Handel the clear winner among those who voted at the Gwinnett County Fair, while Congressman Jack Kingston blew the competition away at Suwanee Day last weekend.

At the fair, which ran for 12 days ending last weekend, Handel received 39 percent of the vote, with Congressman Paul Broun garnering 26 percent. Kingston came in fourth, behind Congressman Phil Gingrey, who got 11 percent of the vote.

But at Suwanee Day, Kingston picked up 57 percent of the votes in the straw poll. Broun again came in second with 21 percent and Handel came in third with 14 percent. Gingrey didn’t even garner 1 percent, echoing the balloting for contenders David Perdue and Eugene Yu in both polls.

“Most of the straw poll results we’ve seen so far have been from various political events, with those casting votes typically not very representative of the people who will vote in the Republican primary for Senate,” said Rachel Little, the chairwoman of the Gwinnett GOP. “The very different results of these two straw polls is a clear indication that the race to succeed Sen. Chambliss is far from being settled and will likely go down to the wire with the primary election next May.”

Tyson to appear on ballots

Wondering about that fourth candidate in the House District 104 special election this November?

Todd Tyson, a local businessman and father of four, quietly entered the race during a qualifying period last week, joining Teresa Cantrell, Chuck Efstration and Tim Puckett on the ballot.

“After much discussion with my family and friends and a lot of prayer, I am excited about the opportunity to serve our community in the Georgia House of Representatives,” said Tyson, who is hoping to replace Donna Sheldon, who resigned to focus on a congressional campaign. “I am truly honored by the overwhelming support my candidacy has received in such a short period of time. I look forward to campaigning throughout the district, speaking with voters about how we can grow our economy and bring jobs by cutting taxes, balancing the budget and reining-in burdensome regulations that suffocate our economy.”

Tyson is the founder of Hi-Tech Healthcare, a home medical equipment company with seven locations and more than 100 employees. In addition to his work as a registered/respiratory care practitioner, various professional organizations and as a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine, the Dacula man volunteers with Good Samaritan Clinic and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.