Republican Gwinnett commissioner won’t seek reelection in 2020

February 19, 2019 Lawrenceville - Jace Brooks speaks during the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meeting at Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Caption
February 19, 2019 Lawrenceville - Jace Brooks speaks during the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meeting at Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks will not seek re-election next year.

The Republican's decision creates another wide open race in 2020, when Democrats will be trying to win their first majority on the five-member commission in decades.

Brooks -- who has represented the Duluth, Suwanee and Sugar Hill areas since 2012 -- announced his decision Thursday.

“While my time in public service has been rewarding, it is now time to focus more time on my family and consulting work,” Brooks’ statement said. “But my work isn’t done yet. Over the next 14 months, I will continue my record of making bold decisions on the Commission to ensure our future in Gwinnett remains bright.”

Democrats have made dramatic headway in once uber-conservative Gwinnett County and the stakes in 2020 will be high, commission included.

The election of Ben Ku and Marlene Fosque last fall gave Democrats their first seats on the commission in more than three decades.

The three remaining commission seats will be up for grabs next year — and if even one of them flips, Republicans will lose the majority they’ve held since the 1980s.

Republican Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash has already said she will retire.

Seven Democrats have lined up to vie for her countywide position. No Republicans have yet announced plans to run.

(Brooks had previously hinted at seeking the chairmanship, but his Thursday announcement said he “also does not currently intend to seek election to another office.”)

The District 3 commission seat, which represents a wide swath of southern and eastern Gwinnett, will also be on the ballot next year. That seat is currently held by Republican Tommy Hunter, who gained infamy in 2017 after calling U.S. Rep. John Lewis a “racist pig” on Facebook.

Hunter has not said if he’ll seek re-election. Three Democrats have submitted paperwork announcing their candidacy for the post.

In District 1, two candidates have thus far filed paperwork to run for Brooks’ seat.

Current Duluth City Councilman Kirkland Carden, a Democrat, announced his candidacy earlier this year and has been actively campaigning.

George Ronnie Awuku, a Republican, has filed paperwork declaring his intent to run but does not appear to have taken his campaign public. He did not immediately respond to inquiries Thursday afternoon.

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