Abortion rights activists rally outside of the Georgia State Capitol building following the signing of HB 481 in Atlanta, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the bill, surrounded by supporters and Georgia lawmakers, in his office Tuesday morning. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJ
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJ

Women announce more candidates targeting Republicans after anti-abortion law

A second wave of women has announced plans to run for elected office in the wake of Gov. Brian Kemp signing restrictive anti-abortion legislation into law earlier this month.

Six women announced Monday their intent to run for offices in the state House, Senate and local government.

Georgia Democrats have consistently vowed to challenge Republican lawmakers who voted in support of House Bill 481, which bans most abortions at about six weeks of pregnancy.

Kelly Rose, a McDonough Democrat who owns an actors studio with her husband, said she was inspired to run after talking to her 8-year-old daughter about bullying. 

Rose said she told her daughter the best way to handle a bully is to come together as a community and stand up for what you believe in. That’s when she said she knew she had to run.

“The way I feel, this Legislature is being a bully,” she said. “Bullies act out of fear and to preserve perceived power.”

Rose is challenging state Sen. Brian Strickland, a McDonough Republican who is serving his first full term in the Senate and is one of Kemp’s floor leaders. It is Rose’s first time running for public office.

Joyce Barlow, a registered nurse from Albany, said she plans to run a second campaign against long-time Republican incumbent state Rep. Gerald Greene. She lost to the 19-term Republican by about 1,400 votes in November.

“If I don’t step up to be concerned about our families, then we’re going to leave it to the people who are serving special-interest groups,” Barlow said of Republican incumbents.

Days after the legislative session ended, Georgia WIN List announced seven other women who were launching campaigns against Republican incumbents.

At a press conference Monday under the Gold Dome, Georgia’s WIN List announced challenges against Republican incumbent state lawmakers – of whom four are men. A sixth woman, Karen Lupton, announced her candidacy for the Chamblee City Council.

WIN List, which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights, organized the event.

“The 14 new women who were elected in 2018 weren’t enough to turn back this year’s efforts to ban abortion in Georgia,” WIN List Executive Director Melita Easters said. “A tough abortion law was a key plank of last year’s GOP platform. There is still much work to do as we seek to finish the job of turning Georgia blue.”

Easters said the event wasn’t meant as an endorsement of the candidates, but a way to encourage the women to decide to run.

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