Gwinnett cities elect county’s first black, Latino mayors

10:23 p.m Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 Gwinnett County
Rey Martinez, then a Loganville city councilman, with then-vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, during a September 2016 rally in Cobb County. VIA CITY OF LOGANVILLE

Gwinnett County, one of the most diverse communities in Georgia and the entire Southeast, will soon have its first-ever non-white mayors. 

The city of Norcross made longtime councilman Craig Newton Gwinnett’s first-ever black mayor during Tuesday’s election. Newton was not challenged. 

And in Loganville — which is in both Gwinnett and Walton counties — former councilman Rey Martinez roughly doubled the unofficial vote total of opponent Donna B. Jones. It’s believed he will become Gwinnett’s first-ever Latino mayor.

Martinez, a U.S. Navy veteran and restaurateur, made a name for himself last fall by helping lead several Georgia rallies for then-candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

“Black, white, Hispanic, Muslim — Donald Trump is going to pick all of you up and make you believe in this country again,” Martinez said at Pence rally in Cobb County last September.

Gwinnett is a majority-minority county, meaning it has more non-white residents than white ones. But it has never seen a non-white candidate elected to the county commission or school board. 

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Once you push the “cast ballot” button on your voting machine, your choices are copied to a memory card inside the machine. Then what? (Erica A. Hernandez/AJC)
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