DeKalb’s top prosecutor will not run for US Senate in Georgia

Abuse and neglect of elderly and at-risk adults is the focus of a new initiative launched by DeKalb County Wednesday. The office of District Attorney Sherry Boston will lead the group of state regulators and law enforcement agencies. AJC file photo.

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DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said Wednesday she won’t run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia and will instead seek for a second term as the metro Atlanta county’s top prosecutor.

Boston's decision came as the Rev. Raphael Warnock was preparing to announce a campaign against Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was recently appointed to the job. He's expected to have the support of influential national and local figures, including Stacey Abrams, the state's leading Democrat.

Boston told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she was humbled to be considered a top contender for the seat, but that she wants to “continue the important work in my community” as DeKalb’s district attorney.

“I'm proud of my accomplishments as your DA, but there is much work to be done,” said Boston. “With the blessing of the DeKalb County constituency at the polls I look forward to continuing on our mission to ‘Engage, Protect, and Restore’ our community for years to come.”

Boston was viewed as a potential candidate not only for the seat held by Loeffler but also the crowded race against U.S. Sen. David Perdue. That contest has drawn four well-financed Democrats, though none has yet emerged as the clear frontrunner.

Supporters of Boston, a former solicitor general who ousted the incumbent district attorney in 2016, saw her as a contender who could energize African-American voters while also appealing to mainstream Democrats with her law-and-order background.

She’s the second potential Democratic Senate candidate to opt out of a race against Loeffler this month. State Sen. Jen Jordan told the AJC two weeks ago that she also wouldn’t seek higher office.

“We all know that politics is all about the timing,” Jordan said Wednesday on GPB’s “Political Rewind.” “My children are a little bit younger. And we’ve got some really interesting people that are throwing their hat into the ring and are able to kind of step up to the plate, and it’s their time to do that.”

The decisions were a sign that leading Democrats were attempting to clear the field for Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church who has flirted with a Senate bid in the past.

The AJC reported earlier this month that he was taking concrete steps to prepare a bid. And he gave a preview of his campaign message at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremony this week at his church, the spiritual home of the civil rights leader.

The November contest for Loeffler’s seat – a special election without primaries to hash out nominees – could still be crowded with other Democrats.

Matt Lieberman, the son of former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, entered the race last year. And former federal prosecutor Ed Tarver recently told the AJC he'll soon join. Other possible candidates, including DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond, have not said whether they're running.

Loeffler, who was tapped to fill retired Republican Johnny Isakson’s term, may also face competition on her right flank. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who was President Donald Trump’s preferred pick for the seat, is considering a run.

More: AJC Poll: Georgia's new senator is playing catch-up with voters

More: Raphael Warnock prepares to run for Senate

Here’s Boston’s full statement:

For months, speculation has circulated locally and nationally regarding my potential candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat. I am humbled by the confidence in my abilities, my philosophies and vision, and my passion to create a positive impact through public service on a broader scale. At this time, however, I am foregoing that opportunity in favor of my desire to continue the important work in my community as DeKalb County District Attorney. I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve in this capacity and execute my vision for a safer and better DeKalb. To that end, I plan to qualify this March to run for a second term as District Attorney of the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit.

This journey began with my vision for a “New DAy” in DeKalb that included transparency in our operations and the employment of ‘smart’ prosecution strategies. While offender accountability remains an obvious focal point, we continue to balance that mandate with advocacy, awareness, prevention/intervention, engagement, and education through our innovative programs and initiatives for which we are increasingly being recognized both locally and nationally.

I remain committed to shining a light on important issues such as elder abuse and exploitation, domestic violence, and minor sex trafficking, the latter of which is an issue I am working to combat as a member of the First Lady of Georgia’s GRACE Commission- an appointment I accepted with great pride. On the national front, I’ll continue to be a voice in the dialogue regarding criminal justice reform and hope to serve as a model for other prosecution agencies looking to employ some of the transformative initiatives we have implemented with great success.

My team and I are ending this term with the same amount of enthusiasm, dedication, and passion with which we began. I'm proud of my accomplishments as your DA, but there is much work to be done. With the blessing of the DeKalb County constituency at the polls I look forward to continuing on our mission to "Engage, Protect, and Restore” our community for years to come.

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