State Sens. Zahra Karinshak, D-Duluth, and Renee Unterman, R-Buford, debated a resolution that express support for Iranian protesters while condemning congressional Democrats. Karinshak and Unterman are both running for the empty 7th Congressional District seat. Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Georgia 7th race hits state Senate floor in debate over Iranian protesters

The fight for the open 7th Congressional District seat came to the Georgia Senate on Monday as two of the women running to replace a retiring congressman battled over a resolution to support Iranian protesters.

State Sen. Renee Unterman, a Buford Republican, said her proposal, Senate Resolution 554, shows support to the Iranians who are protesting the government. Unterman is running for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District seat. U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who currently holds the seat, is retiring this year.

Senate Democrats in a panel last week accused Unterman of “playing obvious politics.”

After about 20 minutes of discussion, the resolution passed 31-17 on a party line vote.

In her resolution, Unterman accused U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats of having “turned their backs on the Iranians yearning for freedom and democracy.”

State Sen. Zahra Karinshak, a Duluth Democrat who also is seeking to replace Woodall in Congress, unsuccessfully attempted to remove the language addressing Pelosi and House Democrats from the bill. Karinshak’s father is from Iran.

“I present amendment one, which would strike the offensive false language accusing the speaker of the United States House, among others, of complicity in the atrocities of the Iranian regime,” she said. “Make no mistake I stand with the Iranian people in a way that I don’t think you all understand or would ever be able to understand.”

Unterman used the bulk of her time to speak against what she called a “sham impeachment” of President Donald Trump.

A second resolution condemning congressional Democrats for the impeachment proceedings against Trump was on the calendar but not discussed.

“President Trump has delivered,” Unterman said. “He’s delivered on the promises he made. This terrifies Nancy Pelosi and the Washington Democrats. The majority of Georgians do not support impeachment.”

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