Update: AJC Voter Guide for the Georgia General Election Nov. 3 2020
Term: Six years
Current officeholder: David Perdue, Republican
Democratic ballot: Sarah Riggs Amico, Marckeith DeJesus, Maya Dillard Smith, James Knox, Tricia Carpenter McCracken, Jon Ossoff, Teresa Tomlinson
Republican ballot: David Pedue (incumbent)
What to know: Seven Democrats have lined up to run against U.S. Sen. David Perdue, though most of the attention is on three top contenders. Jon Ossoff leads the pack in polls and fundraising, thanks partly to high name recognition from his unsuccessful 2017 bid for a suburban Atlanta U.S. House seat. Sarah Riggs Amico, who lost her 2018 campaign for lieutenant governor, and former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson are also angling for a spot in a likely August runoff if no candidate gets a majority of the vote. Perdue, a first-term Republican with close ties to President Donald Trump, didn't draw a primary challenger.
Term: Two years
1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $51,829
Poverty rate: 15.1%
No health insurance: 14.5%
Democratic ballot: Joyce Marie Griggs, Lisa Ring, Barbara Seidman
Republican ballot: Earl "Buddy" Carter (incumbent), Daniel Merritt, Ken Yasger
What to know: U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican from Pooler, has held this seat since the 2014 election. This district is composed of all or part of 17 southeastern counties in a region that includes coastal Georgia and Savannah. In the Republican primary, both of Carter's challengers have struggled to raise money or establish themselves as formidable opponents. Carter had $1.8 million in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter of 2020, compared with challenger Danny Merritt's $6,500. A third candidate, Ken Yasger, was deployed with the National Guard to assist with COVID-19 responses and says the campaign took a back seat during his time of military service.
Even though the district is considered a safe one for Republicans in November, three candidates entered the Democratic primary. Among them, educator Lisa Ring has attracted the most endorsements and raised the most cash. The other Democrats are Joyce Marie Griggs and Barbara Seidman, both retirees.
2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $38,692
Poverty rate: 25.5%
No health insurance: 15.8%
Democratic ballot: Sanford Bishop Jr. (incumbent)
Republican ballot: Vivian Childs, Donald Cole
What to know: Two Republicans are competing for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop in the fall. Bishop, of Albany, faces no opposition in the Democratic primary. The district includes all of 27 counties and portions of two others. The Republicans are businesswoman Vivian Childs and writer and minister Don Cole.
4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $58,448
Poverty rate: 13.2%
No health insurance: 15.4%
Democratic ballot: Hank Johnson (incumbent), William Haston, Elaine Amankwah Nietmann
Republican ballot: Johsie Cruz Ezammudeen
What to know: This metro Atlanta district includes all of Rockdale County and portions of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Newton counties. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Lithonia, has held the seat for 14 years. The 4th Congressional District is drawn in a way that it would be hard for any Republican to win the seat. Johnson is the only member of Georgia's congressional delegation to face primary opposition for the second cycle in a row. In 2018, he won the Democratic primary against a challenger by earning nearly 80% of the vote. His opponents this year are contractor William Haston and attorney Elaine Amankwah Nietmann.
Republican Johsie Cruz Ezammudeen awaits the winner for November’s general election.
5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $57,270
Poverty rate: 28.8%
No health insurance: 13.0%
Democratic ballot: John Lewis (incumbent), Barrington Martin II
Republican ballot: Angela Stanton-King
What to know: U.S. Rep. John Lewis has served in Congress for 33 years. There were some questions about whether the 80-year-old civil rights icon would run for another term after he announced that he was being treated for pancreatic cancer, but he qualified and recently said his health is improving. This year, Lewis is being challenged by Barrington Martin II, a 32-year-old former paralegal. Martin asked the incumbent to endorse him and mentor him as a successor. Lewis declined and said he has no plans to retire.
Republican Angela Stanton-King awaits the winner in the November general election.
6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $97,290
Poverty rate: 5.7%
No health insurance: 10.8%
Democratic ballot: Lucy McBath (incumbent)
Republican ballot: Mykel Lynn Barthelemy, Karen Handel, Blake Harbin, Joe Profit, Paulette Smith
What to know: Five Republicans are competing for the chance to run against U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath in November. Former Congresswoman Karen Handel, the biggest name in the GOP race, is aiming for a rematch against McBath. In their 2018 matchup, McBath won by fewer than 4,000 votes. Handel says she is the only Republican in the contest who has the experience and resources to defeat McBath in 2020. But her opponents have said that the loss two years ago proved that she is not the right candidate if the GOP wants to take back control of the suburban Atlanta district. District 6 includes northern Fulton and DeKalb counties and eastern Cobb County.
No Democrats filed to run against McBath, so she does not have a primary.
7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $78,693
Poverty rate: 8.2%
No health insurance: 14.1%
Democratic ballot: Carolyn Bourdeaux, John Eaves, Nabilah Islam, Zahra Karinshak, Brenda Lopez Romero, Rashid Malik
Republican ballot: Lisa Babbage, Mark Gonsalves, Lynne Homrich, Zachary Kennemore, Rich McCormick, Renee Unterman, Eugene Yu
What to know: This metro Atlanta district, covering portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, is one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the country. It's a true toss-up that either a Republican or Democrat can win in November to replace U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who decided not to run for another term. As a result, it has attracted numerous candidates from both parties. Leading contenders in the Republican field are state Sen. Renee Unterman and emergency room physician Rich McCormick. On the Democratic side, Carolyn Bourdeaux is running again following a narrow loss in the 2018 general election to Woodall. Her opponents in the primary include state Sen. Zahra Karinshak and state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero.
8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $45,710
Poverty rate: 21.0%
No health insurance: 15.0%
Democratic ballot: Lindsay Holliday
Republican ballot: Austin Scott (incumbent), Robert Vance Dean, Daniel Ellyson
What to know: U.S. Rep. Austin Scott is one of five Georgia U.S. House members facing primary challengers this year. However, neither of his two GOP opponents — Robert Vance Dean and Daniel Ellyson — appears to have much momentum to knock off the incumbent, and it's a safe GOP seat.
Democrat Lindsay Holliday awaits the winner in November’s general election.
9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $58,233
Poverty rate: 13.0%
No health insurance: 14.4%
Democratic ballot: Devin Pandy, Brooke Siskin, Dan Wilson
Republican ballot: Michael Boggus, Paul C. Broun, Andrew Clyde, Matt Gurtler, Maria Strickland, Kevin Tanner, Ethan Underwood, Kellie Weeks, John Wilkinson
What to know: A wide field of Republicans is campaigning for the seat U.S. Rep. Doug Collins vacated to run for the U.S. Senate. The candidates include state Rep. Matt Gurtler, best known for casting the most dissenting votes in the General Assembly, and state Rep. Kevin Tanner. Former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who served in Congress from 2007 to 2015, is also running for the seat. The district, which covers all or some of 20 counties in northeast Georgia, is considered a safe one for Republicans. Still, three Democrats are also facing off in the primary. Retirees Dan Wilson and Devin Pandy have each raised about the same amount of campaign cash.
10TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $59,229
Poverty rate: 15.0%
No health insurance: 12.2%
Democratic ballot: Andrew Ferguson, Tabitha Johnson-Green
Republican ballot: Jody Hice (incumbent)
What to know: Two Democrats are competing for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Jody Hice in the fall. Hice, of Monroe, faces no opposition in the Republican primary. The Democratic candidates are screenwriter Andrew Ferguson and nurse Tabitha Johnson-Green.
12TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $45,570
Poverty rate: 19.5%
No health insurance: 12.8%
Democratic ballot: Liz Johnson, Dan Steiner
Republican ballot: Rick Allen (incumbent)
What to know: Two Democrats are competing for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Rick Allen in the fall. Allen, of Evans, faces no opposition in the Republican primary. The Democratic candidates are retired insurance professional Liz Johnson and retired attorney Dan Steiner.
13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $61,898
Poverty rate: 12.2%
No health insurance: 14.7%
Democratic ballot: Michael Owens, Jannquell Peters, David Scott (incumbent), Keisha Sean Waites
Republican ballot: Caesar Gonzales, Becky E. Hites
What to know: Of the incumbents in Georgia's congressional delegation who are facing primary opposition this year, U.S. Rep. David Scott's race has drawn the most attention. His challengers include former Cobb County Democratic Party Chairman Michael Owens, former East Point Mayor Jannquell Peters and former state Rep. Keisha Sean Waites. While all three have accused Scott of being out of touch with the district, they have struggled to raise campaign money. Scott has represented the metro Atlanta district for 17 years.
Although the seat is considered a safe one for Democrats, there are two Republicans running in that party’s primary. The are mechanical engineer Caesar Gonzales and consultant Becky Hites.
14TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Median household income: $50,044
Poverty rate: 14.6%
No health insurance: 14.2%
Democratic ballot: Kevin Van Ausdal
Republican ballot: John Barge, Ben Bullock, Kevin Cooke, John Cowan, Clayton Fuller, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andy Gunther, Bill Hembree, Matt Laughridge
What to know: U.S. Rep. Tom Graves' surprise retirement announcement set off a frenzy of activity for his 14th Congressional District seat in northwest Georgia. It is a conservative seat, meaning whoever wins the GOP primary is likely to win in November. Among the nine Republican candidates are construction executive Marjorie Taylor Greene, who boasts prominent endorsements and loaned her campaign a large amount of cash; neurosurgeon John Cowan; and former Georgia School Superintendent John Barge. Whoever wins the primary will face Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal in November's general election.
RELATED: More election information and previews from the AJC
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
Term: Six years
Democratic ballot: Daniel Blackman, John Noel
Republican ballot: Lauren McDonald Jr. (incumbent)
What to know: Lauren "Bubba" McDonald has served about 16 years on the commission after spending two decades in the state Legislature. The 81-year-old Habersham County resident is a partner in a funeral home business with his son and daughter-in-law. He will face the winner of the Democratic primary. John Noel, a 49-year-old Augusta resident and former state legislator, owns an Atlanta-based energy-efficiency company. Daniel Blackman, 40, lives in Forsyth County and previously worked as a business consultant. Both Democrats have run for PSC seats in the past.
Term: Two years
Pay and perks: $17,342 a year, plus $173 a day in per diem
Median household income: $82,463
Republican ballot: Brandon Beach (incumbent), Michael Caldwell
What to know: Alpharetta incumbent state Sen. Brandon Beach, after launching a now-suspended campaign for Congress, has faced backlash for going to the state Capitol while sick with the novel coronavirus. Woodstock state Rep. Michael Caldwell is challenging Beach for the seat, which represents portions of Cherokee and Fulton counties.
Both lawmakers have been in office since 2013.
Beach has spent the past several years pushing to expand gambling, focusing on horse racing but also supporting casinos and sports betting. Caldwell has focused on limiting the time lawmakers can spend in the General Assembly to four terms in each chamber. Neither effort has gained much traction.
While Caldwell has stayed away from criticizing Beach’s decision to come to the Capitol while sick, Caldwell’s supporters have made it an issue in the race.
No Democrat is running.
Median household income: $42,992
Democratic ballot: Gil Freeman, Mohammed Hossain, Kim Jackson, Beverly Jones
Republican ballot: William Freeman
What to know: Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson is retiring after nearly three decades in office, and five candidates have thrown their hats in the ring to represent this increasingly diverse and strongly Democratic district that covers parts of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. Former Stone Mountain City Councilwoman Beverly Jones, Episcopal priest Kim Jackson, family law advocate Gil Freeman and businessman Mohammed Jongahir Hossain all are seeking the Democratic nomination. A fifth Democratic candidate was disqualified shortly after filing her intent to run.
William Freeman is the only Republican running in this race.
Median household income: $76,595
Democratic ballot: Ernie Anaya, Matielyn Jones, Richard Smith
Republican ballot: Sammy Baker, Clint Dixon, Noemi Puntier
What to know: With state. Sen Renee Unterman vacating her seat to run for Congress, three Democrats and three Republicans are vying for this Gwinnett County seat in an increasingly diverse district that is up for grabs for the first time in 18 years. It's among the districts in the northern Atlanta suburbs that Democrats have targeted as they seek to chip away at Republican control in the Senate.
Seeking the Democratic nomination are U.S. Army veteran and business executive Ernie Anaya, educator Matielyn Jones and barista Richard Smith. On the Republican ballot are businessman Sammy Baker, real estate entrepreneur Clint Dixon and attorney Noemi Puntier.
Democratic ballot: Michelle Au, Josh Uddin
Republican ballot: Matt Reeves
What to know: Democrats hope to hold on to this Gwinnett County seat that narrowly flipped from Republican control two years ago when state Sen. Zahra Karinshak was first elected to office. Karinshak is vacating her seat to run for Congress, and three hopefuls are vying to take her place. Michelle Au, an anesthesiologist, and Josh Uddin, an entrepreneur, will face off for the Democratic nomination. Karinshak's former opponent, real estate attorney Matt Reeves, is the only Republican on the ballot.
Term: Two years
Pay and perks: $17,342 a year, plus $173 a day in per diem
Median household income: $42,573
Democratic ballot: Lyndsay Arrendale
Republican ballot: Jennifer Hulsey, Trey Kelley (incumbent) What to know: State Rep. Trey Kelley, who made headlines earlier this year for his involvement after a fatal hit-and-run, is facing his first primary challenge since being elected nearly a decade ago. Two women, one a Democrat and one a Republican, are challenging him for this northwest Georgia seat.
Kelley’s primary opponent, Jennifer Hulsey, is the woman he defeated in 2012. Hulsey, a retired middle school teacher, said that since that loss, she’s gotten a better idea of the needs of the district — which lies in Bartow, Haralson and Polk counties — by serving in local government.
Democrat Lyndsay Arrendale will face the winner in November’s general election.
Median household income: $48,331
Democratic ballot: Terry Cummings, Erica Thomas (incumbent)
Republican ballot: Jim Hickey
What to know: Democratic state Rep. Erica Thomas drew national attention last year when she accused a man of telling her to go back to where she came from after becoming upset that she had more than 10 items in the "10 items or less" grocery line. An investigation found evidence that conflicted with Thomas' story, and she is now facing a Democratic challenger, retired attorney Terry Cummings, who said the person holding this Cobb County seat should not create "unnecessary and divisive distractions."
Republican Jim Hickey, a financial services agent, will face the winner of the Democratic primary in November’s general election.
Median household income: $48,429
Democratic ballot: Stacey Evans, Kyle Lamont, Orianna Sanders, Jenne Shepherd, Alex Wan
What to know: With state Rep. Pat Gardner vacating her Atlanta-based House seat, five Democrats will face off in the primary election.
The seat has drawn a lot of attention after two well-known Democrats entered the race: former gubernatorial candidate and former state Rep. Stacey Evans and former Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan.
Sommelier Kyle Lamont, businesswoman Orianna Sanders and stay-at-home-mom Jenne Shepherd are also vying for the seat.
No Republican entered the race.
Median household income: $46,291
Democratic ballot: Ladena Bolton, Michele Henson (incumbent), Zulma Lopez, Joscelyn O'Neil
What to know: State Rep. Michele Henson of Stone Mountain has served nearly 30 years in the Georgia House, but in that time the demographics of this DeKalb County district — and the Democratic Party — have grown increasingly diverse.
Henson, who is white, is facing three women of color in the race: forensic chemist Laden Bolton, immigration attorney Zulma Lopez and retired educator Joscelyn O’Neil.
O’Neil challenged Henson in 2016 and 2018, losing each race by more than 20 percentage points. Whoever wins the primary will fill the seat since no Republican filed to run.
Median household income: $52,177
Democratic ballot: Bee Nguyen (incumbent), Marcia Ridley
What to know: Democratic state Rep. Bee Nguyen, made history in 2017 when she won a special election and became the first Vietnamese-American member of the Georgia General Assembly.
Nguyen drew no opponents in 2018, but elections supervisor Marcia Ridley filed to run this year.
No Republican entered the race.
Median household income: $30,406
Democratic ballot: Mack Jackson (incumbent), Daniel Thomas Jr.
What to know: State Rep. Mack Jackson of Sandersville is facing a Democratic primary challenger after liberal groups vowed to oust him.
Many liberal activists targeted Jackson after he voted in support of last year’s restrictive anti-abortion bill, which would make the procedure illegal in most cases after about six weeks of pregnancy.
Daniel Thomas Jr., however, has not received endorsements from prominent abortion rights groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates.
Jackson did not have a Democratic challenger in 2018, but he faced a Republican in that general election. No Republican filed to run this year.
Median household income: $35,345
Democratic ballot: Frederick Manley, Robert Trammell (incumbent)
Republican ballotL David Jenkins, Gene King
What to know: House Minority Leader Bob Trammell of Luthersville is facing a Democratic primary challenger after a narrow win in 2018 over a Republican whose residency in the district was questioned.
Frederick Manley, an entrepreneur and activist, is challenging Trammell in the Democratic primary.
Republicans, who are defending their majority in the state House, are investing a lot of money in the district to take it away from Democrats.
Running in the GOP primary are retired U.S. Army veteran David Jenkins and entrepreneur and inventor Gene King.
GEORGIA SUPREME COURT
Seat held by Justice Charlie Bethel
Candidates: Beth Beskin, Charlie Bethel (incumbent)
What to know: Two former Republican legislators, one an incumbent justice, are competing for a seat on the state's highest court.
Justice Charles Bethel of Dalton is a former state senator who served as an administrative floor leader. Appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Nathan Deal in 2018, Bethel has obtained widespread bipartisan support, including Gov. Brian Kemp. As a justice, he has written some noteworthy opinions, such as upholding a decision to grant a new trial based on newly discovered DNA evidence to Johnny Lee Gates, a Columbus man recently released from prison after serving 43 years behind bars.
Bethel’s opponent, Beth Beskin, is an Atlanta attorney who once served in the state House, including a stint as chief deputy whip. She also worked in the Medicaid fraud division in the state attorney general’s office. Beskin initially tried to qualify to run for the seat of Justice Keith Blackwell, who is retiring in November. But when Beskin was told there would be no election for Blackwell’s seat, she qualified against Bethel.
Seat held by Justice Sarah Warren
Candidates: Hal Moroz, Sarah Warren (incumbent)
What to know: Justice Sarah Warren is running in her first election against Hal Moroz, a prosecutor from Albany.
Warren, who grew up in Atlanta, is Georgia’s former solicitor general — the state’s chief appellate lawyer. She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University for both her undergraduate and law degrees. She worked as a deputy press secretary in the George W. Bush White House and worked at a Washington law firm before returning to Georgia. She has raised more than $721,000 so far for her campaign.
Moroz is Dougherty County’s deputy chief assistant district attorney and previously served as a judge for Camden County’s Magistrate Court and St. Marys’ Municipal Court. A 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Moroz started a charity, Veterans Law Center, that provides counsel and support for military vets. Moroz has given $6,618 to his campaign, most of which paid his $5,373 filing fee.
DISTRICT 4 (election to fill seat that opened following the death of state Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville)
Scott Bohlke (Republican)
Billy Hickman (Republican)
Kathy Palmer (Republican)
Stephen Sammons (independent)
Neil Singleton (Republican)
Sources: Ballotpedia, U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey of 2018