Georgia 2022: Erick Allen to run for state’s No. 2 job

State representative Erick Allen listens at a press conference at the John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. Democratic Georgia state lawmakers held a press conference at the John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue to announce the introduction of two bills that would restore the right to vote to felons in Georgia. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Democratic state Rep. Erick Allen said Wednesday he will challenge Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan next year, the start of an expected wave of candidates to declare for 2022 races at the end of the legislative session.

The Smyrna legislator told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s confident his business and legislative experience primed him for a campaign against Duncan, a first-term Republican who is also expected to face GOP opposition if he runs for re-election.

“I’ve worked to earn the support that’s needed to run. I’ve earned the respect of my colleagues, supporters and donors across the state,” he said. “This is the right time.”

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He entered the race with the support of Sarah Riggs Amico, a logistics executive who narrowly lost to Duncan in 2018.

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“As we work to rebuild our economy and address systemic inequity, Erick’s record shows he will deliver real change and progress on the issues that matter most to Georgians,” said Amico, who will chair his campaign committee.

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His announcement came hours before the end of the 40-day legislative session that kicks off the unofficial campaign season.

Allen, who runs a consultant firm that specializes in workforce development, took an unusual path to state politics.

He ran for the Smyrna-based House seat in 2014 and 2016, losing to incumbent Republican Rich Golick. When Golick vacated the seat, Allen ran in 2018 for a third time and was initially defeated in a primary by Sandra Bullock – not the actress, but a political newcomer who didn’t actively campaign for the job.

Bullock quickly withdrew from the race and Allen was awarded the nomination. He defeated a GOP contender in 2018 and coasted to re-election two years later, making a mark as a chief supporter of new environmental regulations after a Smyrna plant was discovered emitting higher levels of toxic gas.

Duncan will face a tough road to re-election after he drew former President Donald Trump’s scorn for refuting his falsehoods about widespread election fraud. Several other Republicans are said to be considering a challenge to Duncan, including top figures in the Georgia Senate.

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