Republican incumbent Lynette Howard (left) and Democrat Ben Ku (center left) are vying for Gwinnett Commission District 2. Republican incumbent John Heard (center right) and Democrat Marlene Fosque (right) are vying for Gwinnett Commission District 4.

Democrats make Gwinnett commission history — two times over

Gwinnett hasn’t had a Democratic commissioner in more than 30 years.

It appears the county will now have two of them — and its first-ever minority representatives to boot.

Democrats Ben Ku and Marlene Fosque declared victory Tuesday night over their Republican opponents in Districts 2 and 4, respectively. Each garnered a comfortable percentage of the votes in their districts.

“I knew that Gwinnett was ready for change,” said Ku.

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The five-member Gwinnett County Commission hasn’t had a Democratic member since 1986 and has also had a historical dearth of diversity. 

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Ku bested two-term incumbent Lynette Howard in District 2, which covers parts of Lilburn, Norcross and Peachtree Corners.  He will be the board’s first Asian-American member, as well as its first openly gay one. 

Fosque topped her own two-term incumbent, John Heard, for District 4. She will be the board’s first black member. 

“I just stayed the course, I didn’t want to waver, I wanted to stick to my core values and just move forward,” Fosque said.

Gwinnett has been a majority-minority county since at least 2010 and has begun shifting further left in recent years. It voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016’s presidential election and appeared poised to choose Stacey Abrams by a healthy margin in Tuesday’s governor’s race.

Heard, the District 4 incumbent, said he believes the Abrams factor likely helped carry his opponent to victory.

“I think people were interested in making history,” he said. “And in Gwinnett they did.”

Howard, the District 2 incumbent, declined an interview request Tuesday night.

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