DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown officially announced his run for the Fourth Congressional District, currently held by Congressman Hank Johnson, during an all-day series of appearances at four locations throughout the Fourth District including the Welcome Center at Olde Town Conyers. Brown is challenging Johnson for the 2014 Democratic nomination in this majority blue district.
Brown, who is finishing his fourth term as DeKalb Sheriff, said he and Johnson shared the same core Democratic values but that he would be at the forefront of issues.
"I have heard a growing frustration wtih all the shenanigans that's going on in Washington and the lack of representation that we're not doing here to make it better for us," he said.
"It stands to reason the representative for this powerful district should not just toe the party line and not just sign on to any legislation that the party puts in front of them and shape America's agenda. Be the chief spokesman for this district; be the chief spokesman for moving America," said Brown before a group of about 20 residents and supporters. "This district has always assessed their representative on a term by term basis. We demand accountablity at every term."
Brown said he would run despite having less campaign funds and less fundraising pull than Johnson.
"I have spent the last 90 days traveling this district. I've seen Oxford, Ga. for the first time and seen the trees and lovely homes. I rode down to Porterdale and seen what the old steel mills looked like in that community. I've seen the high-end community in Rockdale and Conyers. People live good down this way. I've had a chance to see parts of Lilburn and Snellville I've never seen before. It really shows how diverse we are and how spread out we are. Even with all that, we have the same wants, the same goals, the same desires and expectations for our children."
In a written response to Brown's statements, Congressman Johnson said, "President Obama needs Democrats united behind him to resist tea party attacks on the economy and health care reform. I love this country and love serving the people - particularly the people of the Fourth District. I have a strong record and I look forward to running on my record. Now is the time for all good Democrats to unite - we need a strong Democrat to represent the Fourth District."
Among the officials that came to Brown's Conyers announcement were Coroner George Levett, Jr., former city councilman Marty Jones, former city manager Roland Vaughn, and former Sheriff Jeff Wigington, whom Brown called a peer and friend from when they were in school together.
Brown began his public safety career in the Atlanta fire department, became DeKalb County fire chief and was eventually appointed public safety director in DeKalb by then DeKalb CEO Manuel Maloof. Brown first ran for sheriff in 2001.
Congressman Hank Johnson is also serving his fourth term in office. He defeated Republican candidate Chris Vaughn in the 2012 election with 73 percent of the vote to Vaughn's 26 percent of the vote. In the 2012 Democratic primary, Johnson won 67 percent of the vote to challengers Courtney Dillard, who had 24 percent and Lincoln Nunnally, who had 8 percent.
The Fourth Congressional District covers parts of Rockdale, Newton, Gwinnett and DeKalb counties.
There are no Republican candidates that have declared their intention to run for the Fourth Congressional District.