Former Georgia state Rep. Mitchell Kaye is seeking a seat in the state Senate, even if he occupies it for only several months.
Kaye, a Republican who served five terms in the House, is running in the April 5 special election to replace Republican Sen. Matt Dollar, who resigned his seat in the 45th district to take a post with the state’s technical college system. Dollar’s announcement came after the General Assembly approved a referendum on creating a city of East Cobb.
The winner of an April 5 all-comers election — sometimes referred to in political circles as a “jungle primary” — will serve the remainder of Dollar’s term, through the end of the year, a period when the legislature usually is not in session. If no candidate wins a majority, a runoff election will be held May 3.
Kaye is one of three Republicans qualified for the primary, along with one Democrat. In a news release announcing his candidacy, Kaye said that he was running in the special election because “it is important that this seat remain Republican.”
In that release Kaye said that “unless a judge throws out the reapportionment maps, the winner of this election will not serve a single day when the legislature is in session, and it is critically important that constituent services go uninterrupted.”
Democrats have filed lawsuits over the redrawn legislative district maps, claiming that the effect of redistricting was to diminish African American voting strength.
Kaye, a member of Chabad of Cobb, represented House District 37 in Cobb County from 1993 to 2003. He is a financial and valuation analyst professionally.
Meanwhile, primaries for a full-two-year term from the 45th senate district will be held May 24. The winner of the general election race in November will take the seat beginning in January 2023.
Kaye does not plan to seek a full two-year term.
At present, Rep. Mike Wilensky is the only Jewish member among the 236 members of the General Assembly: 180 in the House and 56 in the Senate. The two-term Democrat from Dunwoody recently announced that he would not seek re-election.
In October 2020 Kaye told the AJT: “To me it is not how many Jews are in the legislature, but how many support Jewish values. I found in my 10 years in the legislature, religious Christians of both parties were more supportive of ideas that may be unique to Judaism than many of my co-religionists; how ironic that was.”
Two other Jewish candidates are seeking House seats, Democrat Esther Panitch in the 51st district and Republican Betsy Kramer in the 50th.