Democrat Jonathan Wallace announced Monday that he will seek to regain his seat as the District 119 Representative to the Georgia House.
Incumbent Republican Marcus Wiedower defeated Wallace in the 119th in 2018 after Wallace defeated Wiedower and two other Republican candidates in a special election for the 119th seat in 2017.
Athens educator and community activist Mokah Jasmine Johnson has announced her intent to run as a Democrat in the 117th House District and has scheduled a campaign launch for 5 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 18 at Athens City Hall.
The 117th seat now is held by Republican Houston Gaines, also of Athens. Gaines also was elected in 2018, defeating Democrat Deborah Gonzalez, who defeated Gaines in a special election in 2017.
Gonzalez is running for District Attorney in the Western Judicial Circuit, consisting of Oconee and Clarke counties.
The 117th is dominated by Clarke County, but it also includes three of Oconee’s 12 precincts and parts of Jackson and Barrow counties.
No candidates have announced as challengers to Gaines and Wiedower in the Republican primary, and only Wallace and Johnson have announced for the Democratic nomination. The party primaries are in May.
Wallace Press Release
Wallace, in his announcement, said “District 119 deserves a future where all families thrive. We deserve a representative that thinks critically about each proposal rather than voting along party lines for reelection.
“I will return to the State House to ensure that we have a representative focused on real solutions,” the announcement continues.
“Only with the involvement of the voters throughout the district can I return to the State House to let our voices be heard and advocate for the citizens of the district,” Wallace states in the release.
Wallace touted his work on legislation to rein in auto-insurance prices, to expand Medicaid, and to fully fund public education as his accomplishments during the year he served in the General Assembly.
Wallace is an engineer and entrepreneur in the software industry.
The picture here is taken from his web page via a screenshot.
Johnson Web Page
Johnson has an elaborate web page providing information on her background and stands on issues.
She says she has lived in Athens for seven years and that she and her husband, Knowa, have a blended family of seven children.
Johnson calls herself “A social entrepreneur” who “channels the connective and transformative powers of the arts to educate and empower.”
Born in Jamaica, Johnson said she moved to the U.S. in the 1980s and is a naturalized citizen.
She said she founded the Athens Hip-Hop Awards, which showcases the work of local artists, and the Athens MLK Day Parade and Music Fest.
She lists criminal justice reform, support for the HOPE scholarship and education generally, and healthcare as issues she will promote.
“I will protect a woman’s right to choose,” she states on her web site. “Not only does Georgia’s unconstitutional abortion ban deny a women’s right to choose, disregarding her own reproductive freedom, but also it discourages OB-GYNs from coming to Georgia, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in the ensuing court battles and denying critical access to healthcare.”
The picture of Johnson also is taken via a screenshot from her web site.
Gaines And Wiedower
Gaines and Wiedower began their second session of their terms in Atlanta Monday, where budget issues are a major concern.
Gaines received 54 percent of the vote in 2018, to Gonzalez’s 46 percent.
Wiedower received 53 percent of the vote, to 47 percent for Wallace.
My analysis of the election results shows that Oconee County voters had great influence on the election outcomes in the races because of high turnout.
In the 119th House District, Oconee County’s high vote turnout in comparison with Clarke County’s almost certainly produced Wiedower’s victory.
The pictures I have used here of Gaines and Wiedower are from the web site of the General Assembly.
The three Oconee County precincts in the 117th District are Athens Academy, Bogart and Marswood Hall (formerly called Malcom Bridge).
Gaines, Wallace and Wiedower last filed campaign finance reports in June of last year and won’t be required to file another report until Jan. 31 of this year.
Gaines reported, as of June 30, that he had $27,665 in unspent funds.
Wiedower reported that he had $6,616 available at that point.
According to Wallace’s campaign finance report, he had $1,484 in his campaign account on June 30 of last year.
Gaines had demonstrated great skill and success as a fundraiser.
Gaines campaign finance report for June 30, 2018, showed $169,450 in unspent funds in his account.
Gaines works at Cannon Financial Institute and consults with Lighthouse Counsel, both of Athens, according to his official biography on the General Assembly web site.
Wiedower works in real estate.
Gaines and Wiedower are not allowed to accept campaign contributions while the Assembly is in session.