As candidates were qualifying for the July 31 Democratic and Republican primaries, one state representative announced that she would not run against her friend.
“Our districts were combined during redistricting to the dismay of both of us,” said Rep. Elena Parent (D-81) during a May 25 news conference during which she announced that she would not run against Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-82).
The two are old friends and political compatriots who met eight years ago when they worked at the same law firm.
“Really I see it as a compliment that there are those who did not really want to see either of us come back,” Parent said. Parent left the door open for a future run for an elected position.
“We knew that we would not run against each other because we can take the long view,” Parent said. “We knew that there’s plenty of time for both to serve in an elected office in Georgia.”
Parent will be executive director of Georgia Watch, a 10-year-old nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that focuses on issues such as health care, energy and utility issues, identity theft, foreclosure, predatory lending and access to civil justice. The group develops pro-consumer policies and advocates for Georgians at the state Capitol and the Public Service Commission.
“I’m very excited about this new venture,” Parent said. “I’m very sad not to be running for re-election at the current time, but I’m really excited to be able to work full time on policy issues that I really care about [and] that impact every single Georgian.
“Of course, I wholeheartedly endorse [Holcomb],” Parent said. “He’s exactly what we need in an elected office and I will certainly be doing anything and everything in my power to make sure he stays as the representative for District 81.”
Holcomb said the two representatives “knew that we would not be well served by a campaign against each other.”
“We want what’s best for our district and what’s best for our district is for one of us to continue fighting for what is reasonable, to continue fighting for a better Georgia,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb said Parent’s decision to accept the job at Georgia Watch did not automatically mean that he would run for the Georgia Assembly position.
“I am very concerned about the political climate that we have in our country,” Holcomb said. “It’s unbelievably coarse. It’s unbelievably nasty. So I still reflected on it.
“I thought deeply about it and know that I can make contributions,” Holcomb said. “I’d like to continue working very hard to advance our state.”
On the county level, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is facing two political newcomers–businessman Jerome Edmondson and former DeKalb County Police officer Gregory Adams, not to be confused with Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams who is running unopposed for another term on the bench.
Four county commissioners are up for re-election and all have opposition. District 1 Commissioner Elaine Boyer faces Larry Danese, a county soil and water conservation district commissioner.
District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton has two opponents–Steve Bradshaw, a businessman and adjunct professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and Clyburn Halley.
Commissioner Lee May of District 5 will face off against attorney Gina Mangham, Kenneth Samuel, pastor of Victory For the World Church, and Andre White, publisher of The Sentinel newspaper.
Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon is being challenged by Edmond Richardson, chief of staff for commissioner May.
On the school board, District 2 incumbent Don McChesney faces Marshall Orson.
Paul Womack, the District 4 incumbent, has three challengers: Tom Gilbert, Jim Kinney and James McMahan.
With District 6 School Board member Thomas Bowen not seeking re-election, the position is up for grabs with four contenders: Melvin Johnson, Denise McGill, Terrilyn Rivers-Cannon and Latasha Walker.
In District 8, incumbent Pamela Speaks is being challenged by Michelle Jenkins-Clark.
For the clerk of Superior Court, incumbent Debra Deberry is being challenged by John Carter, husband of former clerk Linda Carter who resigned last year. Other contenders are Oretha Brown Johnson, Frank Swindle and Cheryl Vortice.
Tax Commissioner Claudia Lawson is being challenged by Melvin Tukes while State Court Division 6 Judge Dax Lopez will face Dionne McGee.