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7 qualify for District 43 Special Election as of Tuesday
Sharon Sawyer

With qualifying for the State Senate District 43 seat this week, candidates are revealing their desires to be state senators and grab a hold of the vacant seat.

Nathan Deal issued a call for a special election to fill the seat for State Senate District 43. Former District 43 State Senator Ronald Ramsey, who was serving his fifth term, was appointed earlier this year as an associate judge in DeKalb County's new traffic court.

The nonpartisan special election will be held Nov. 3 to fill the second year of the two-year term, which finishes at the end of 2016. If a runoff is needed, would be held Dec. 1.

The candidate qualifying period ends at noon Wednesday.

Here are the candidates so far, including two Covington residents:


Sharon Sawyer

Covington resident Sharon Sawyer qualified with the Secretary of State's office on Monday to run as a Democrat for the State Senate District 43 seat.

Sawyer previously ran twice for State House Representative District 113 seat, losing in the primaries in 2012 and 2014, and also ran unsuccessfully for the Newton County Board of Education in 2010.

Sawyer has been a financial claims specialist with Acuity Brands (formerly Lithonia Lighting) for 16-plus years and works to find solutions to payment disputes between customers and the company.

She previously was a commercial collector for radar detector manufacturer Beltronics for more than seven years and spent 15 years as a bookkeeper in the commercial collection division at Dun and Bradstreet, a corporate credit rating company.

Sawyer graduated from the former Murphy High School in Atlanta, and took some college courses at DeKalb College, as well as various professional courses through her jobs.

Sawyer is a board member on the local Covington homeless shelter's board of directors and is a founding member of the African-American Historical Society. Sawyer is also a co-host on the local radio show Thy Brothers and Sisters Keeper on WGFS 1430 AM alongside her husband, Forrest Sawyer Jr., a local black historian and civil rights activist.

Sawyer is also a deaconess at Early Hope Baptist Church and a patron of the Newton County Arts Association.

For more, go to


Marcus Jordan

Covington resident and Newton County's Chief Appraiser Marcus Jordan declared his intentions and qualified as a Democrat for the District 43 race at the Secretary of State's Office onTuesday.

Jordan previously ran for the Newton County Board of Commissioners Chairman seat against Keith Ellis in 2012, losing with about 49 percent of the vote.

In his day-to-day job, the 44-year-old Newton County native is the Chief Appraiser for the Newton County Board of Tax Assessors and has been a management level supervisor for the past 12 years.

his current duties include supervisory responsibility in accordance with county policies, procedures and applicable laws including: hiring and training in job skills, planning and directing work, addressing complaints and resolving problems. He also coordinates and directs the appraisal and valuation of real estate and personal property, including the production of newton's nearly $2 billion annual tax digest. 

Prior to working with the Newton County he began his career in local government in 1996 as a Refuse Collector at the City of Covington in the Sanitation Department before being transfered to work as a meter reader. Jordan spent three and a half years in the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion as an electrician, including serving in Bahrain during the Gulf War. He has also done tours in Bermuda, Japan and Puerto Rico.

He graduated from Newton County High School in 1989 and is currently working on a bachelor's degree in religion from Luther Rights University in Lithonia. He is getting the degree to help with his work in church administration; he serves as assistant treasurer at Sims Chapel Baptist Church and is president of the men's ministry.

He and his wife, Veronica, have three adult children and one child in high school.

For more, go to


Diane Daniels-Adoma

Local business owner Diane Daniels-Adoma will also be running for the available seat. Daniels-Adoma, who was defeated by Dee Dawkins-Haigler in the 2014 Democratic Primary for the Georgia House District 91 seat, proclaims this year she will be hoping to win the election as a Republican.

"In the race against Dee I was painted as a Republican in Democrat clothing. Upon examining my political stances I realized that my detractors were correct on that one point," said Daniels-Adoma in a press release. "Half of my friends and family have been Republicans for many years."

It's important to note that this special election is a nonpartisan election and candidates do not have to be affiliated with a political party, according to Rockdale County Supervisor of Election Cythia Welch.

Daniels-Adoma is currently a resident of Lithonia, Georgia. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a bachelor's in business administration. She has a master's in business administration from the University of Phoenix with an emphasis in business management.

Diane and her husband are franchise owners of H&R Block locations in Rockdale County. She is also a producer and host of Adoma and Company Radio and the owner of Diane Adoma Consulting, LLC.

Daniels-Adoma qualified for the seat as a Republican at the Secretary of State's Office on Monday.

For more, go to


Stanley Williams

Dozens of supporters gathered on the steps of the Rockdale County courthouse Friday morning for the official announcement from Williams. The longtime Rockdale resident and Greenville, South Carolina native has often worked behind the scenes for community volunteer boards, agencies, and political campaigns. But this would be his first time running for elected office.

He said he decided to put his hat in the ring this time because the State Senate seat was one that was not an administrative management role but rather one that worked to bring together many different agencies, from local cities and counties to state and even national agencies.

Williams has served as the Chair for the Rockdale Democratic Party 2008-2010, board member for the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce, Nancy Guinn Memorial Library, Rockdale United Way advisory board, RCPS Superintendent's Advisory Board, Leadership DeKalb Class of 1991, Leadership Atlanta Class of 2003, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education board member, is a member of the Citizens Progressive Club, Rockdale NAACP, and many more. Williams worked for 25 years in various management positions with IBM and as director at the Rockdale County Juvenile Court Evening Reporting Center after that.

Williams said he was moved to run for this position because he saw a lack of coordination happening with efforts in the district.

"I didn't see enough synergy in Rockdale... Now I feel like it's time to put it all together," he said.

He said his goal is renewed economic development, championing transportation initiatives through the I-20 corridor, and increase opportunities for teaching and learning in public schools.

Williams and his wife of 30 years, Barbara, have two adult sons Zuri and Omari, and two grandchildren, and are members of St. Phillip AME Church.

Williams qualified for the seat with no party affiliation at the Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday.

For more, go to


JaNice Van Ness

Former County Commissioner JaNice Van Ness is one who has officially announced her intention to run for the empty seat in the upcoming November special election.

Van Ness, who currently is the chairperson of The Rockdale Republican Party, says she decided to run for the seat because she thinks it will put Rockdale County in a great position at the state capital.

"It's a great opportunity for our community to expand our voice," she said.

Van Ness says her local government experience and connection to the community in both Rockdale and Newton puts her in great position to win the seat. She says that she's "in touch" with the community by way of her private school and other community organizations where she has a membership.

Van Ness was a county commissioner for eight years before losing to Doreen Williams, a Democrat, in the 2014 general election. She's the owner and founder of Peachtree Academy, a daycare and private Christian school, mother to four children and a wife to her husband Ken.

Van Ness qualified for the seat as a Republican at the Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday.

For more, go to


Angela Moore

Lithonia resident and public relations specialist Angela Moore announced Monday she would be running for District 43 as well. Moore previously ran for Secretary of State in 2009.

The 20-year Lithonia resident had previously served as state committee chair for the District 43 advisory committee under Steen Miles. She said her campaign platform focuses on "excellence."

"We can't rest on our laurels, we have to push for infrastructure funding down I-20 East, making sure our children receive excellence in education and that we can live and work in our communities healthy, without fear of violent crimes or an immediate loss of our homes due to foreclosure and, that we are able to compete for jobs outside of our home counties with proper access to modern transportation. I cannot do all this alone. It will take a group effort and I will be asking every person in the district to join me because together, we can and we will; make an excellent Senator.

Moore qualified for the seat with no party declaration at the Secretary of State's Office on Monday.

For more, go to

Sherri Washington

Conyers resident and attorney Sherri Washington qualified as a Democrat for the seat at the Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday.

Washington previously ran for State House of Representatives District 92 and the former District 94 seat and lost in the primaries.

Washington received her J.D. from Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law, as well as a master's in public administration from Savannah State University. She has a 21-year-old daughter and has been a resident of Rockdale since 2004.

She has served on the Rockdale County Parks and Recreation Commission, volunteered at the Barksdale Boys and Girls Club, and was a charter member of the NewRock Legal Society.

For more, go to



Senate District 43 includes portions DeKalb County, Newton County and Rockdale County. Only 14 out of 18 election precincts in Rockdale will be able to vote for this seat, which excludes the Lorraine, Barksdale, Magnet and Honey Creek areas.

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. Early voting begins Oct. 12 in Rockdale.

The District 43 seat was left vacated by former State Senator Ronald Ramsey, who was serving his fifth term before he was appointed earlier this year as an associate judge in DeKalb County's new traffic court.


Danielle Everson and Gabriel Khouli contributed to this report.