Republican state senators targeted for pro-Super Bowl votes

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Oh, the irony that could be on tap for Tuesday. On that day, the AJC's Tim Tucker tells us, Atlanta will learn whether its new home for the Falcons has a Super Bowl in its future:

Five cities, including Atlanta, are bidding for the games, with no city allowed to land more than one. The Atlanta bid committee prefers the February 2019 event, which will be awarded first, but also is seeking the other two in case the first goes elsewhere.

But Tuesday is also Election Day, and at least two Republican state senators are being made to sweat over their votes for the NFL incentives that, city officials and the Falcon front office tell us, were necessary to make Atlanta’s Super Bowl bid viable.

The Georgia chapter of Americans for Prosperity has targeted Steve Gooch of Dahlonega and Brandon Beach of Alpharetta for their support of HB 951, which offers sales tax breaks on tickets sold to the Super Bowl and other one-of-a-kind sporting events.

Both senators have opposition in Tuesday’s GOP primary. Gooch faces John Williamson of Ellijay. Aaron Barlow, running against Beach for the Senate District 21 seat, has primarily focused on issues related to MARTA and transportation.

The AFP flyers aren’t technically campaign material, given that they don’t mention opposition candidates. But the timing surely indicates they are intended to wound both incumbents.

The sales tax break for sporting events was merged with the renewal of back-to-school sales tax holidays to make it more palatable. Even so, the measure – while sent to the governor on a 38-to-14 vote in the Senate -- was opposed by a coalition of conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats.