There are several runoffs of interest to Athens, Georgia voters coming up on June 21, especially on the Democratic side.
In this article, APN will break down the candidates, providing information and analysis to help you decide who to vote for.
Before examining this guide, you may wish to first view your sample ballot at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov so you know which candidates you have the option to vote for.
Table of Contents
Democratic Primary Runoff
US House of Representatives, District 10
Tabitha Johnson-Green, a nurse from Sandersville, appears set to win the District 10 Democratic primary for the third time in a row after receiving 42% of the vote in a crowded field. Jessica Fore, a realtor and musician from Athens, came in a distant second, earning just 19% of the vote in the primary. Whatever the reason, Johnson-Green has shown a remarkable ability to win Democratic primaries in this district and should not be underestimated in this runoff.
However, Johnson-Green has not had success in the past two general elections, earning just 37% of the vote both times. She also hasn’t made much out of her platform as a Democratic nominee. When she’s had big public speaking opportunities, such as at the state Democratic convention or when debating Jody Hice, she’s been terse and has seemed uncomfortable. Johnson-Green will likely lead Democrats to another defeat this November if she is nominated.
Does Fore have a better shot? Probably not. But Democrats may be wise to give someone else a try at this point. Fore is the better public speaker and is better able to communicate her policy ideas, some of which are quite innovative. On the other hand, Johnson-Green does have more experience in running for office, and has been the better fundraiser of the two so far.
Kwanza Hall, who served on the Atlanta City Council for 15 years, received 30.1% of the vote for Lieutenant Governor on May 24, the most of any Democratic candidate in a crowded field. Charlie Bailey, former Senior Assistant District Attorney for Fulton County, was second with 17.6%. Bailey has a lot of ground to make up in the runoff, but he got a big endorsement after the primary from none other than Stacey Abrams herself. Bailey already had endorsements from ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz and State Representative Spencer Frye. In terms of platform, there’s not much that distinguishes Bailey from Hall — they’re both fairly centrist Democrats. But with the leader of the Democratic party in Georgia supporting him, Bailey is sure to give Hall a strong challenge on June 21.
Secretary of State
Stacey Abrams is also supporting Bee Nguyen, a member of the Georgia General Assembly, for Secretary of State. Nguyen received 44% of the vote on May 24, far more than Dee Dawkins-Haigler who won second place with 19%. But in some ways, these two candidates are similar. They’ve both served in the Georgia General Assembly and they’re both running on securing the right to vote for all Georgians. Distinguishing her from Nguyen, Dawkins-Haigler has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year for her work as an “ambassador of goodwill to over twenty African nations.” As impressive as Dawkins-Haigler’s resume may be, Nguyen has a long list of endorsements including progressive leaders across the state. Democrats can’t go wrong with either of these choices, but with Abrams’ endorsement, Nguyen is the favorite to win on June 21.
Janice Laws Robinson is an insurance agent who ran for this office in 2018, getting 47% of the vote in the general election against Jim Beck (R). After being convicted of fraud and embezzlement, Beck was sentenced to seven years in prison, leaving an open field for 2022. Fortunately, Georgia voters have a chance to make up for their past mistakes and finally elect Robinson to the office of Insurance Commissioner, but first she’ll have to defeat Raphael Baker, an entrepreneur and author, in the Democratic primary runoff.
Baker has significant experience in the insurance industry, as does Robinson, but he is less experienced in running for office. He only reported having raised $3,600 as of April 30, simply not enough to run an effective statewide campaign. He has an intriguing life story and some interesting ideas, but his poor fundraising would be a liability for Democrats in November. Abrams has not weighed in yet on this race.
The top two Democratic candidates for Commissioner of Labor are Nicole Horn, an entrepreneur and activist, and Will Boddie Jr., an attorney and member of the Georgia General Assembly. Boddie slightly outperformed Horn on May 24, receiving 27% of the vote to Horn’s 25%. Since then, he’s picked up a big endorsement from Stacey Abrams, making him the favorite to win the primary. Together with his endorsements from the AFL-CIO, Working Families Party, Georgia Equality and the Georgia chapter of the National Organization for Women, he’ll be tough to beat, even though Horn has also picked up some important endorsements from the SEIU, Georgia WIN List and the IW (ironworkers) union.
Their platforms seem fairly similar. Both candidates want technology and staff upgrades for the Georgia Department of Labor to help process unemployment claims in a timely fashion. They both want to create more apprenticeship opportunities and they both want to address the lack of career centers statewide (Horn wants to create mobile centers that travel to multiple counties whereas Boddie wants to create more fixed-location centers).
Horn has outraised Boddie as of April 30, raising over $521,000 compared to Boddie’s $318,000. However, both have raised enough to be competitive with Republican nominee Bruce Thompson who has raised $336,000.
Republican Primary Runoff
US House of Representatives, District 10
Mike Collins, the owner of a trucking business, earned 26% of the vote in the District 10 Republican primary, taking the top spot over Vernon Jones, who earned 22% of the vote. Jones, the former CEO of DeKalb County, is endorsed by former President Donald Trump and is running on a hard-right platform that includes gun rights, abolishing the IRS, more funding for law enforcement and the military and a hostility to both abortion and immigration.
Collins supports all of that but also speaks up for a balanced budget amendment, privatizing education, cutting corporate taxes, “reforming” entitlements like Social Security and Medicare and opposing tariffs. He says he supports Trump’s “America First” agenda (except for the tariffs) despite Trump’s support of his opponent. If anything, Collins may be a bit further right than Jones, who is a former Democrat (although Jones is running on a far-right platform).
Collins reported having raised $1.1 million as of April 30, far more than Jones, who reported having raised $337,000. However, both candidates have raised more than the entire Democratic field in the District 10 race, so perhaps this shouldn’t be much of a consideration for Republican voters — whoever wins this Republican primary will almost certainly win in November.
ACC Commission, District 5
Dexter Fisher is a political moderate who nearly won outright on May 24, receiving 49.6% of the vote. During the campaign, Fisher’s main focus has been on fighting gangs through youth development and crime prevention. He was the Director of Facilities Management at UGA for 31 years, and he’s running on “building bridges” between town and gown and between Democrats and Republicans. He wants to fight poverty through job training and entrepreneurship.
Matt Pulver, a writer and UGA librarian, is significantly to Fisher’s left, putting a strong emphasis on racial and economic justice as well as affordable housing in his platform and campaign rhetoric. Pulver would bring an activist mindset to the commission. He would strive for social justice while pushing against the limits of what is possible in the position in a manner similar to that of Commissioners Mariah Parker and Jesse Houle, who have both endorsed him. Unlike Fisher, who prefers to build bridges, Pulver doesn’t seem to mind making enemies. During the Chamber of Commerce debate when he was booed by a mostly Republican audience, Pulver quoted FDR, telling the audience “I welcome your hatred” as he laid out his plans to fight both poverty and racism.
Fisher has the edge in terms of both fundraising (he raised $25,000 compared to Pulver’s $5,500) and votes (he received 49.6% of the vote compared to Pulver’s 27.2%), making him the clear favorite to win on June 21.