Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, will retire at the end of this term after serving 26 years in the Georgia General Assembly. He chatted with AJC reporter Ty Tagami about his long career under the gold dome and his hopes for the future of education in Georgia. (Erica A. Hernandez/AJC)

Candidates from both sides pour in for Gwinnett legislative seats

Brooks Coleman is retiring at the end of this session, leaving his Gwinnett-based post in the Georgia House of Representatives without an incumbent for the first time in more than a quarter-century — and at least eight people want to take his spot.

The formal qualifying period for state offices ended Friday afternoon, and most of Gwinnett County’s seats in the General Assembly will be contested. Coleman’s House District 97 — which covers a diverse swath of the Duluth and Suwanee areas — has the looks of a potential free-for-all. 

A total of six Republicans and two Democrats qualified to run and will face off in their respective primaries on May 22. 

Previous coverage from myAJC.com: At least 5 Gwinnett Republicans vacating legislative seats

The Republicans include attorney Bonnie Rich; physician Indran Krishnan; data analyst Judson McClure, pastor Kipper Tabb; executive Louis Tseng; and realty company founder Scott Lecraw

The Democrats are activist Aisha Yaqoob and Wayne Slear, who documents listed as a project manager. 

“Whoever succeeds me, I want to sit down with them and talk with them, and be sure that they’re non-partisan as far as education,” Coleman, a longtime educator and chairman of the House Education Committee, recently told The AJC. “That they care about public education and they will support that.”

Find below a list of other state House and Senate districts with Gwinnett ties that will be contested in May’s primary, in November’s general election or both. Visit The AJC’s Legislative Navigator to find your district and more information about the current legislative sesssion.

  • In Senate District 5, incumbent Democrat Curt Thompson drew no Republican opposition but did get a challenger from his own party. Democrat Sheikh Rahman, who is listed as a business owner, qualified to run.
  • In Senate District 9, Democrat Cheryle Moses — who gained notoriety last fall after her organization hosted an event called ‘Come Meet a Black Person’ — qualified to challenge Republican incumbent PK Martin.
  • In Senate District 40, Democrats Sally Harrell and Tamara Johnson-Shealey will square off in a primary for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Fran Millar in November. Johnson-Shealey has run for the seat twice before.
  • In Senate District 41, incumbent Steve Henson drew no Republican competition but will face fellow Democrat Sabrina McKenzie in a primary.
  • In Senate District 45, incumbent Republican Renee Unterman drew a challenge from Democrat Jana Rodgers, who is listed as a “speech-language pathologist.”
  • The Senate District 48 seat vacated by David Shafer (who is running for lieutenant governor and the subject of recent unsavory allegations) drew single candidates from each party. Republican Matt Reeves will square off against Democrat Zahra Karinshak in what may be a close contest.
  • In Senate District 55, incumbent Democrat Gloria Butler drew a Republican challenger in Annette Davis Jackson.

Most, though not all, House districts with Gwinnett ties will also be contested either in primaries or in November’s general election.

The incumbents who will not face opposition include Democrats Dar’Shun Kendrick, Pedro Marin and Dewey McClain(districts 93, 96 and 100, respectively) and Republicans David Clark, Timothy Barr and Tom Kirby (districts 98, 103 and 114, respectively).

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