By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
ELECTION PREVIEW: Senate seats among hotly contested federal races
Decision Time

There are more than 78,000 active registered voters in Newton County, and each one will not only have the opportunity to decide who will become the next president, but they will also decide who represents the state of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

In the race for the White House, incumbent Republican President Donald J. Trump seeks reelection over Democrat challenger Joseph R. Biden and Libertarian challenger Jo Jorgensen.

Trump, 74, is the 45th president of the U.S., elected by the people in 2016. If reelected, he intends to “(continue) his promise to the American people to lower taxes, repeal and replace Obamacare, end stifling regulations, protect our borders, keep jobs in our country, take care of our veterans, strengthen our military and law enforcement, and renegotiate bad trade deals, creating a government of, by and for the people,” according to his campaign website.

Trump’s running mate is current Vice President Mike Pence.

Biden, 77, is former vice president of the U.S., serving under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. He was also a U.S. Senator for the state of Delaware from 1973 to 2009. If elected, Biden  said he would support a health care plan that would build on the ACA, including an expansion of the public option. The plan would also not allow pharmaceutical corporations to avoid negotiating with Medicare over drug prices. On immigration, the former vice president has pledged to protect Dreamers, or people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. On climate change, Biden supported the Paris climate accords, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2017. In June 2019, Biden released a proposal to spend $1.7 trillion on green energy technologies over the next 10 years, with the ultimate goal of putting the U.S. on track to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Biden’s running mate is Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from Oakland, California.

Jorgensen, 63, was the Libertarian party’s nominee for vice president in the 1996 U.S. presidential election as the running mate of Harry Browne. She was also the Libertarian nominee for South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District in 1992. On healthcare, Jorgensen believes Americans should be in charge of their own health dollars, according to her campaign website. This would give patients the opportunity to shop for care the same way they do with any other product or service, and costs would go down as a result, she said. Jorgensen also vowed to get rid of the FDA’s efficacy requirement, “if not the entire FDA,” so that new medicines and procedures get to patients as “quickly and safely as possible,” and she would also make more drugs available over the counter. 

Jorgensen’s running mate is Jeremy “Spike” Cohen, an entrepreneur and podcaster from Baltimore, Maryland.

In the races for the U.S. House of Representatives, Newton County voters will elect candidates to represent Districts 4 and 10.

In District 4, Democrat Hank Johnson is the incumbent seeking reelection against Republican challenger Johsie Cruz Ezammudeen.

Johnson is currently in his seventh term representing Georgia at the nation’s capital. Johnson was named one of the most effective Democrats in Congress in a study conducted by the University of Virginia and University of Vanderbilt. As part of the House Judiciary Committee, Johnson introduced, co-sponsored and passed measures to protect consumers and citizens’ civil liberties, including the FAIR Act and the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act. As a former member of the House Armed Services Committee, Johnson became a leading national voice for the demilitarization of local law enforcement agencies in 2014. Prior to taking his seat in Congress in 2006, Johnson practiced criminal defense law in Georgia for 27 years. He served 12 years as a magistrate judge and five years as a DeKalb County commissioner.

Ezammudeen currently works at The Meridian Group, a health care insurance company that specializes in providing services to a small business as well as acting as VP of RACI - Red Alternativa Capitalista de Información (The Alternative Network of Capitalistic Information). As a member of the Georgia GOP, Ezammudeen supports small government “that allows the private sector to grow and create sources of employment, pushing our economy forward.” In 2016, she was part of a grass-roots movement known as Latinos for Trump of Georgia, which brought 39% of the Latino vote for Trump up from an initially projected 9%. Ezammudeen also participated in the Latinos for Kemp movement in 2018. According to her campaign website, She views herself as “a moderate conservative, defender of the Judaeo-Christian values the nation was founded upon, 100% pro-life and fervent defender of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights to be the prevailing law of the land.”

In District 10, Republican Jody Hice is the incumbent seeking reelection against Democrat challenger Tabitha Johnson-Green.

Hice took office in 2015 as the representative of Georgia’s 10th Congressional District and serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Natural Resources Committee. For the 116th Congress, he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations for the Committee on Oversight and Reform. Hice was born in Atlanta and raised in Tucker. He graduated from Asbury University, earned his master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as a doctor of ministry from Luther Rice College and Seminary. Hice served as pastor in three Georgia counties for almost 25 years and later went on to launch the Jody Hice Show, a conservative talk radio program.

Johnson-Green born and raised in Washington County. According to her campaign website, she is a “Christian, wife, mother, registered nurse” and “business owner.”

“Many of the deep societal issues that we face today, including the rising costs of healthcare, housing, and education, epidemics of gun violence and mass incarceration, a lack of economic opportunity and basic necessities like clean air and water, and struggles for fundamental equality, are rooted in our failure to provide the basic building blocks for a successful life for all of us,” she stated on her campaign website. “When members of our community are afforded the basic decency of clean air and water, education, healthcare, safe communities, economic opportunity and fairness, they have a chance to become productive, thriving citizens. We must make sure that we treat the disease, not just the symptoms.”

In the U.S. Senate, two seats representing the state of Georgia are up for grabs.

The first is held by Republican incumbent David Perdue. Challengers on the ballot include Democrat Jon Ossoff and Libertarian Shane Hazel.

Born in Macon, and raised in Warner Robins on his family’s farm, Perdue is the former CEO of Reebok athletic brand and Dollar General stores. He earned a degree in industrial engineering and a master’s degree in operations research from Georgia Tech. Perdue was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. On his campaign website, Perdue is described as “a champion for term limits for politicians, reining in out-of-control spending, growing the economy, and tackling our nation’s debt crisis.” Perdue serves on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Foreign Relations committees for the 116th Congress.

Ossoff is a Georgia native, media executive, investigative journalist and small business owner. Since 2013, Ossoff has served as the CEO of Insight TWI, a now 30-year-old media production company that investigates corruption, organized crime and war crimes for international news organizations. Ossoff earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. Before his career in journalism, Ossoff worked as a national security aide for U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, handling defense, foreign affairs, intelligence and economic policy.

Hazel is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Cumming. He grew up in Lawrenceville. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in international affairs from the University of Georgia. Hazel joined the Marine Corps after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

“My mission is to bring people together while preserving the freedom of every individual, regardless of skin color, age, faith, gender, love and every other nuance which make us unique. We must come together and remove the government/corporate cabals from the lives of peaceful people here in the us and around the world.”

The other U.S. Senate seat up for special election is current held by Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. She was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp when former Sen. Johnny Isakson resigned for health concerns at the end of 2019. Loeffler was sworn in on Jan. 6, 2020. The election will fill the remaining two years of the six-year term Isakson was elected to in 2016.

On the special election ballot are 21 candidates, including eight Democrats, six Republicans, five independents, one Green Party candidate and one Libertarian candidate. If no candidate garners a majority of the vote Nov. 3, a runoff between the top two voter-getters will be held Jan. 5, 2021.

According to polls, Republicans candidates Loeffler and Doug Collins and Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Matt Lieberman reportedly lead the pack.

Loeffler is a businesswoman who moved to Georgia in 2002 to help build a startup company, Intercontinental Exchange, which later grew to become a Fortune 500 company. In 2010, she became co-owner of the WNBA Atlanta Dream. Most recently, Loeffler was the CEO of a financial technology firm she helped found. As senator, she is a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and the Joint Economic Committee.

Collins currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives for the state’s 9th Congressional District — a position he’s held since 2013. Collins has ministered to the U.S. military as a U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain since 2002. In the 116th Congress, Collins has served on the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, working on a variety of issues that include fighting to uphold and safeguard the Second Amendment, protecting the lives of unborn children, defending religious liberty, and overseeing the nation’s law enforcement agencies.

Warnock graduated from Morehouse College, earning a doctorate, and was ordained in the ministry. He has served as senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta for the last 15 years, the former pulpit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Warnock was the youngest pastor selected to serve in that leadership role at the historic church.  As senator, Warnock states on his campaign website that he “will focus on fighting for quality, affordable health care, for the dignity of working people who are paid too little as our government works more for Wall Street, and to make sure every voice is heard.”

A resident of Cobb County, Lieberman — the son of former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000 — graduated from Yale and got his J.D. from Yale Law School. After two years of practicing law, he decided to become a school teacher. Lieberman developed a program to help fight hunger and homelessness, and later launched a local “I Have a Dream” program to provide college scholarships to low-income kids. 

If elected, Lieberman pledges to lower the cost of insurance premiums and prescription drugs. He also believes there should be a new Voting Rights Act. Lieberman is a “longtime boosters of Planned Parenthood,” according to his campaign website, and supports women’s right to choose. He also said Congress should pass “a real, meaningful, universal background check law to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”