Vincent Fort is challenging David Scott for U.S. House seat

Former state Sen. Vincent Fort announced Thursday that he will challenge U.S. Rep. David Scott in the Democratic primary. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

caption arrowCaption
Former state Sen. Vincent Fort announced Thursday that he will challenge U.S. Rep. David Scott in the Democratic primary. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

U.S. Rep. David Scott drew a primary challenge Thursday from a liberal former legislator who has long been a favorite of Bernie Sanders, setting up a battle between dueling Democratic factions to represent the Atlanta-based district.

Vincent Fort, once the second-ranking Democrat in the state Senate, said Thursday that he was challenging Scott because the district needs someone “who is present and progressive.”

“It needs someone who believes in Democratic ideals and someone who doesn’t vote like a South Georgia Republican,” Fort said. “It needs someone who believes in Medicare for All and doesn’t side with the big banks and predatory lenders.”

He entered the race days after Politico published a lengthy report that questioned whether Scott is fit to lead the House Agriculture Committee. Scott, who was first elected in 2002, described himself in the report as “strong and vibrant as a roaring lion.”

Fort, who lost a bid for Atlanta mayor in 2017, isn’t the first Democrat to take on Scott. He captured 53% of the vote to defeat Keisha Waites and Michael Owens in 2020. Waites is now an a member of the Atlanta City Council, and Owens is running for secretary of state.

caption arrowCaption
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and has a moderate record that incudes backing then-President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. AJC file

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and has a moderate record that incudes backing then-President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. AJC file

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

caption arrowCaption
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and has a moderate record that incudes backing then-President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. AJC file

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Scott has carved out a moderate record in the U.S. House. He’s a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats, and he’s broken party lines to support then-President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and back Republican-led foreign policy efforts. He also endorsed then-U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s reelection bid in 2016.

By contrast, Fort has embraced his party’s left wing. He earned the backing of Sanders, a democratic socialist, during his mayoral bid by calling for the decriminalization of marijuana, free tuition at Atlanta city colleges and other left-leaning initiatives.

Fort’s campaign is one of several ideological battles in Georgia that will help shape the direction of the Democratic Party in 2022.

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath is rallying left-leaning supporters to take on U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, a centrist, for control of a Gwinnett County-based House district after Republicans redrew the political map to make her own district lean to the GOP.

And in the state Legislature, Nabilah Islam — a liberal activist — is battling state Rep. Beth Moore, a moderate candidate, for an open state Senate seat in Gwinnett County.

About the Author

Editors' Picks