More candidates threw their hats in the ring Tuesday to run for top offices in Georgia’s 2022 elections including secretary of state and a suburban Atlanta congressional district.
From left: Raffensperger, Hice, Nguyen, Belle Isle
State Rep. Bee Nguyen, D-Atlanta, launched her campaign against Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, adding to a growing lineup of Democrats vying to flip statewide seats following historic wins in Georgia’s presidential and U.S. Senate races during the 2020 cycle.
Republican Eric Welsh, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former Coca-Cola executive, also announced Tuesday he will compete for U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s 6th Congressional District seat, which she flipped to the Democrats in 2018 amid changing voter demographics in Atlanta’s suburbs.
The roster of candidates from both parties has been building in recent weeks for campaigns to unseat incumbent Republicans in statewide offices across the board including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, labor and insurance.
Nguyen is among the first Democratic candidates to kick off a challenge against Raffensperger, who has already drawn Republican primary competition from U.S. Rep. Jody Hice of Greensboro and former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle.
Welsh will look to run a more formidable campaign against McBath for the suburban congressional seat north of Atlanta, after former Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel lost the seat to Democrat McBath in 2018 and fell short of recapturing it last year.
McBath’s seat is one of two Democrats have flipped in recent years that Republicans are aiming to win back to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican emergency-room doctor Rich McCormick is already raising money for a rematch against Democratic U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in the 7th Congressional District northeast of Atlanta.
Gov. Brian Kemp, who is running for a second term in the governor’s office, has drawn Republican challengers in former Dekalb County CEO and state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat turned Republican, and Appling County educator Kandiss Taylor.
Should he win the primary, Kemp is expected to face a possible rematch with 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams. Abrams has not yet announced whether she will run in 2022.
Several Republican candidates have also kicked off campaigns against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who won a runoff in January alongside U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff to hand Democrats control of Congress.
Other high-profile Republicans who may be weighing campaigns against Warnock include U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson of West Point and former University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker, whom former President Donald Trump urged to run in March.
Further down the ballot, Republican Attorney General Chris Carr is set to square off against either Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta attorney who launched her campaign last month, or Atlanta attorney and former prosecutor Charlie Bailey.
Democratic state Reps. Erick Allen of Smyrna and Derrick Jackson of Tyrone are both running to win Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s seat. Duncan’s office has signaled he may not seek reelection.
State Sen. Lester Jackson of Savannah and state Rep. William Boddie of East Point, both Democrats, are running against Republican Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. Democratic state Rep. Matthew Wilson of Brookhaven has challenged Republican Insurance Commissioner John King.
This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.