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 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).
- In House District 81, Democratic incumbent Scott Holcomb drew both a Democratic challenger (Hamid Noori) and a potential Republican one (Ellen Diehl).
- House District 94 incumbent Karen Bennett will face fellow Democrat L. Dean Heard in a primary.
- In House District 95, incumbent Republican Scott Hilton will be challenged by Democrat Beth Moore.
- In House District 99, incumbent Democrat Brenda Lopez (the first Latina ever in the General Assembly) drew a challenger from her own party : Shawn Allen.
- House District 101 will be a rematch, pitting incumbent Democrat Sam Park (Georgia’s first openly gay male legislator) against the Republican he narrowly defeated last time around: Valerie Clark.
- House District 102, the seat vacated by Republican Buzz Brockway as he runs for Secretary of State, drew interest from five candidates: three Republicans and two Democrats. Paula Hastings, Zach Procter and Kellie Pollard Austin are all running on the GOP side; Tony Scalzitti and Gregg Kennard will face off in a Democratic primary.
- In House District 104, incumbent Republican Chuck Efstration drew Democratic challenger Andrea Stephenson.
- In the highly competitive (and, according to some, gerrymandered) House District 105, three different Republicans will be pursuing the seat left vacant by retiring incumbent Joyce Chandler: Donna Sheldon, Patrick Batubenge and Robin Mauck. The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Donna McLeod, who narrowly lost 2016’s election against Chandler, in November’s election.
- The House District 107 seat vacated by Republican David Casas also drew interest from both parties. Democrats Ken Montano and Shelly Hutchinson will compete for the right the face Republican Janet Mihoci come November.
- In House District 108, Republican incumbent Clay Cox will be challenged by Democrat Jasmine Clark.
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