Georgia Democrats pick Beverly for second term as House minority leader

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Georgia Democrats chose state Rep. James Beverly as minority leader in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, giving him a second term after their party gained two seats in this month’s elections.

Beverly, a Democrat from Macon, will be the party’s leader in the House, joining incoming Speaker Jon Burns, a Republican from Newington who will lead the chamber.

Beverly thanked his fellow Democrats for their support after he overcame a challenge from state Rep. Carolyn Hugley, a Democrat from Columbus who was Stacey Abrams’ top deputy when she was minority leader.

“Their confidence in our path forward as a caucus will allow us to bring the voices of underrepresented Georgians to the table,” Beverly said afterward. “I am as committed as ever to continuing to make progressive strides in our state as we work to take the majority.”

The Democrats’ leadership vote and debate wasn’t open to the public or news media.

Democrats will hold 79 of 180 seats when the General Assembly convenes its annual session in January.

Republicans picked Burns to become speaker of the House last week after House Speaker David Ralston declined to seek another term because of health issues. Ralston died two days later after leading the chamber for 13 years.

Several other Democrats also won leadership posts, including incoming Minority Whip Sam Park of Lawrenceville, Minority Caucus Chairman Billy Mitchell of Stone Mountain and Minority Caucus Vice Chairwoman Karen Bennett of Stone Mountain.