Like all crowded political races, the jungle primary for one of two U.S. Senate seats from Georgia has its upper tier and then those who would be classified as “also running.”
We all know Kelly Loeffler was appointed to the seat by Gov. Brian Kemp after respected statesman Johnny Isakson stepped down for health reasons. Even with President Trump urging Kemp to appoint someone else, the governor went his own way and was no doubt influenced, at least partly, by Loeffler’s incredible wealth.
Kemp also figured having a female on the ballot this November would help turn out more women voters in the key general election.
Loeffler has the power of incumbency despite never being elected or even on a ballot before Georgia voters.
Republican Doug Collins, a long-time congressman from Northeast Georgia, has also received a good bit of attention since entering the race. Collins was the person President Trump wanted in the position.
On the Democratic side, party leaders and insiders have pushed Raphael Warnock as their choice. They have even gone as far as calling for other Democrats in the race to drop out. It’s an absurd request and so far, none of the “other” seven Democrats in the jungle primary have thrown their hat outside of the ring.
With so many candidates representing all areas of the political spectrum, it is probably a good time to look at others in the race. This race, as much as any in recent state history, gives voters a true choice with 21 official candidates in the race. We are now less than a month until election day.
Other Democrats in the race besides Warnock include:
•Deborah Jackson, an attorney and former mayor of Lithonia.
•Jamesia James, a businesswoman and United States Air Force veteran.
•Tamara Johnson-Shealey, a businesswoman.
•Matt Lieberman, a businessman, former teacher and son of former U.S. Senator and vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.
•Joy Felicia Slade, a physician.
•Ed Tarver, a former U.S. attorney, former state senator and Army veteran.
•Richard Wingfield, a college professor, author and former candidate for U.S. representative.
Of these Democrats, Lieberman actually polled the highest until recent weeks when the Warnock campaign overtook him. Lieberman’s name gave him credibility in the race although some have repeatedly demanded he end his campaign.
There was early talk of Tarver being a possible contender but he has only polled in single digits.
Other Republicans besides Loeffler and Collins include:
•Derrick Grayson, a minister, network engineer and US Navy veteran.
•Annette Davis Jackson, a businesswoman and former state senate candidate.
•Wayne Johnson, a former US Education Department official, educator and businessman.
•Kandiss Taylor, a south Georgia educator.
Of these Republicans, Taylor has likely logged more miles than anyone covering almost every county in the state. Taylor has spoken to any gathering which has extended an invitation and has gained a grass roots following.
Johnson actually ended his campaign last week but he will still be on the ballot. He had endorsed Collins in the race.
Grayson has run for office multiple times and at one time sought the Libertarian Party nomination for president. He ran for the U.S. Senate in the Republican primary in 2014.
Other non-Democrat and non-Republican candidates include:
•Libertarian Brian Slowinski, a retired real estate developer who ran for Congress as a Republican in the 2014 primary when Jody Hice was first elected. He also has the endorsement of the Georgia Constitution Party.
•Green Party candidate John Fortuin, a property manager and the first from his party to be on a statewide Georgia ballot.
•Independent Al Bartell, an Air Force veteran who had run for statewide office multiple times, including primaries as a Republican.
•Independent Allen Buckley, an attorney and accountant who has run for statewide office as a Libertarian.
•Independent Michael Todd Greene, a retired teacher.
•Independent Valencia Stovall, an elected Democratic state representative and a businesswoman.
•Rod Mack, official write-in candidate who is a former congressional aide. Being an official write-in candidate means Mack’s votes will be tabulated.
This slate of candidates covers the entire political spectrum so there is certainly someone for everyone’s political tastes.
Chris Bridges is a former local sports editor. He may be reached at email@example.com.