April 1, 2017 37th and O

#HoyasInGA — Day 1

by Jack Dobkin

Yesterday six GU Politics students packed up our bags and headed to Georgia for the weekend to follow the special election to fill HHS Secretary Tom Price’s seat in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. We’ll be meeting with people with all sorts of perspectives on the race. After our flight to Atlanta and a great first dinner in the Peach State, we settled into our house and caught some shut-eye before our busy first day. But first, let’s meet the #HoyasInGA crew!


Jack Dobkin - is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service studying International Politics. Jack is involved in GU Politics through being a member of one of this semester’s Student Strategy Teams, with GU Politics Fellow Tony Sayegh. Jack is originally from Marietta, GA, which is actually in Georgia’s 6th District, so he could not be more excited to get a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign that will decide his next Congressperson!

Samantha Granville - is a senior in the College studying Government with a focus on American and Middle East politics. On campus, she is involved with the Georgetown University Student Association as a deputy chief of staff, former vice chair of College Republicans and is currently a member of Anna Palmer’s Student Strategy Team in the Institute of Politics and Public Service. She has previously interned at Fox News Channel, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the office of Speaker John Boehner. In her free time, she enjoys reading political memoirs and watching "The Newsroom." Samantha loves Washington D.C. and hopes to work in political journalism after graduation.

Sophia Mauro - is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service studying (most likely) Regional Studies focusing on the Middle East. She is from Kansas City, MO and when not talking about politics, she can probably be found laughing. A lot. She got her start in GU Politics right off the bat in the (amazing) pre-orientation program centered on the presidential race in Virginia. She's really looking forward to learning the ins and outs of Georgia's 6th Congressional District on #HoyasinGA!

Christian Mesa - is a sophomore in the College studying Government. Christian has been involved in GU Politics since his freshman year, working on Student Operations and then working on Juana Summers' Student Strategy Team. Christian is from Long Beach, California and is really excited to understand the nuances of a Special Election.

Taurjhai Purdie - is a freshman in the College studying Government and African American Studies. She is from Baltimore, Maryland, but has found her home in Washington, D.C. Taurjhai first became involved in GU Politics after participating in the Campaign Bootcamp: Battleground VA pre-orientation program surrounding the nail-biter presidential contest in Virginia during the 2016 campaign. She is beyond excited to get an inside look into Georgia's 6th Congressional District election!

Katie Rogers - is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business studying Marketing. Katie is from Connecticut and got involved with GU Politics through the Special Operations team and Martin O'Malley's Student Strategy Team.

Day 1 in Georgia was a busy day, packed with opportunities to meet and get to learn from so many interesting people involved in the race! To start off the day, however, we of course had to get some fuel in the classic Georgia way - breakfast at Waffle House.


After breakfast we headed off for our first real stop of the day: a chat with Rebecca DeHart, the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia. Rebecca shared some great insight on the role of state parties in a special election, as well as on the current status and the future of the Democratic Party in Georgia!

We then took a quick driving tour of some Atlanta landmarks - including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s childhood home - before heading to stop number two. At this second stop, we met with Greg Bluestein, a political reporter for the AJC, at Manuel’s Tavern, a popular Atlanta restaurant and political hub. Greg talked about his role and relationship with the campaigns as a member of the press, and how he’s covering the special election.


From there, we went to one of Bob Gray’s campaign offices in Johns Creek. At the office, we got the opportunity to meet with a few senior staffers, who answered some questions on what it’s like to run a campaign for a special election, and how their ground game is going with less than 3 weeks until the election.

Bob Gray

Our last meeting of the day was with Sally Harrell, a former Georgia State Representative, who considered running as a Democratic candidate in the race. Sally gave the crew a unique perspective on the race, as she decided not to officially declare her candidacy in order to promote party unity. Sally also talked about what the future looks like for Democratic candidates in Metro Atlanta.

Sally Harrell

After a much-needed power nap, we headed back into Atlanta for a walk on the Beltline and dinner at Ponce City Market to round out the day. We all learned so much and had such a great time - and this is only Day 1! Stay tuned for more to come tomorrow - be sure to follow our trip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @gupolitics!

Ponce City

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