Despite runner-up John McCloskey’s decision to suspend his campaign and back first-place Beth Beskin in the Republican District 54 Georgia House of Representatives July 22 primary runoff election, the race remains on the ballot.
In the May 20 primary Beskin nearly won the four-person field outright with 49.9 percent. McCloskey had 30.2 percent, followed by Loretta Lepore (14.7 percent) and Angelic Moore (5.1 percent).
Incumbent Republican Ed Lindsey is vacating the post to run for Congress. The district includes historic Brookhaven and most of Buckhead. The winner will face Democrat Bob Gibeling and independent Bill Bozarth in November.
Moore said she is endorsing Beskin in the runoff, and Lepore said she is not endorsing a candidate.
Beskin, a lawyer specializing in family law, estate planning and ERISA litigation, ran for the District 38 State Senate seat in 2010, losing to incumbent Democrat Horacena Tate. The following year, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Beskin as his liaison to the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education when the district was placed on accredited probation by the Southern Association Colleges and Schools. She served in that role for a year and a half. Beskin also holds leadership positions with some local organizations and has volunteered for other candidates’ campaigns in the past.
“My key to winning the runoff is to let my supporters know I need their vote on July 22,” Beskin said. “Because I received 49.94 percent of the vote in the primary, which rounds up to 50 percent, many people think I won the primary outright, but I am in a runoff and need everyone’s support. I am working hard to continue to meet and speak with as many District 54 voters as possible.
“I am asking all Republicans to vote in the July 22 runoff, including those that voted on May 20 as well as those that did not. There are four or five races on the Republican ballot (depending on whether voters live in the 5th or 11th Congressional district), and all of those candidates are working hard to get voters to the polls.”
McCloskey, running for public office for the first time, is the only candidate who has no political experience, including campaign volunteering. Instead, he promotes his business experience as a positive. McCloskey is executive vice president and general counsel for Select Management Resources, an Alpharetta-based company that has several hundred storefront consumer finance and retail furniture and electronics locations.
But he said he is supporting Beskin in the runoff.
“As I have suspended my campaign, and as my still being on the July ballot is simply a technicality that could not be avoided, I’m confident that Beth will be the Republican candidate in November,” McCloskey said. “I will continue to do all I can to support Beth to ensure that she is the 54th District’s next state representative.”
Meet the candidates
o Name, age: Beth Beskin, 54
o Occupation: attorney and partner, Cohen, Cooper, Estep & Allen
o Education: bachelor’s degree in geology, Tulane University, 1981; master’s degree in geology, University of New Orleans, 1983; juris doctor degree, Louisiana State University, 1989
o Family: husband Jim, two daughters: Claire, 20, and Alison, 23
o Top three issues: reducing/eliminating the Georgia personal income tax, bringing property tax relief to Atlanta’s seniors and improving educational outcomes for all of Georgia’s children.
o Campaign website: www.bethbeskin.com
o Name, age: John McCloskey, 47
o Occupation: executive vice president and general counsel, Select Management Resources
o Education: bachelor’s degree in government, University of Maryland, 1989; juris doctor degree, University of Toledo College of Law, 1993
o Family: wife Melissa, two children: Madison, 14, and Jack, 11
o Top three issues: job creation, tax reform and education
o Campaign website: www.JohnForGA.com