“I’m from Georgia and I don’t like seeing where we are going,” said Nikki Merritt, who is among several challengers already to state Sen. P.K. Martin of Gwinnett County. “We live in a free society. No one has the right to take choice away from women – ever.”
Others were drawn off the sidelines by the Republican-backed measure. Caroline Holko said she shared what she described as a deeply personal story with her representative, John Carson, about how abortion saved her life and got a curt response back about his support for the bill.
“At that moment, I resolved to file my intent to fund-raise,” she said, adding: “To paraphrase Ruth Bader Ginsberg: How many women are enough in the House? All the seats.”
Republicans hope the new restrictions, which are bound to trigger a lengthy court battle, will energize their supporters. State Rep. David Clark of Suwanee captured attention over the weekend with a video showing him shrugging off the threat of a challenge.
“Some of us care about the value of human life more than winning an election,” he said.
More: Under Kemp, Georgia Republicans wade back into culture war
Here’s a list of the candidates:
- Sarah Beeson will challenge state Sen. John Albers of Roswell. A first-time candidate, Beeson is a former Young Democrats of Georgia president.
- Caroline Holko will challenge state Rep. John Carson of Marietta. Holko was defeated in a 2018 run for a Cobb County commission seat.
- Triana Arnold James will challenge Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan of Carrollton. James was defeated in the 2018 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.
- Rachel Kinsey will challenge U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville. Kinsey was defeated last year by state Sen. Bruce Thompson.
- Emily Leslie will challenge state Rep. Brett Harrell of Snellville. Leslie was a write-in candidate in the 2018 election.
- Nikki Merritt will challenge state Sen. P.K. Martin of Lawrenceville. She is one of several Democratic contenders; former Gwinnett Democratic chair Gabe Okoye is also running.
- Luisa Wakeman will challenge state Rep. Sharon Cooper of Marietta. It will be a rematch of last year's contest, in which Cooper won by less than 1,000 votes. Cooper was among a handful of Republicans who voted against the abortion bill.