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Here’s a rundown on the political races in Georgia districts where there are one or more HBCU campuses located.

Georgia has a pivotal role in deciding which political candidates will win the 2020 election.

Here’s a quick, informative guide on the major candidates that you’ll see on the ballot. Below is a list of major party candidates running for election in each district that includes a historically black college or university in Georgia. There’s a short biography and their major platform issues from their website, unless stated otherwise.

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United States Senate
State House of Representatives, District:   1 2 5 8 12
State Senate, District:   1 2 5 8 12


United States Senate

Incumbent: David Perdue

David Perdue (R)

About

David Perdue is a businessman with more than 40 years of experience. He was formerly the president and CEO of Reebok. Perdue graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s in industrial engineering and a master’s in operations research.

Issues

• Reopening Georgia’s economy
• Moving toward a “merit-based” immigration system
• Ensuring law enforcement isn’t defunded
• Achieving energy independence

Jon Ossoff (D)

About

Jon Ossoff is the CEO of Insight TWI, a media company, and an investigative journalist. He was formerly a national security aide for Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson.

Issues

• Making long-term investments in HBCUs
• Protecting and strengthening Medicare
• Creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
• Banning the sale of assault weapons and closing the gun show loophole

Shane Hazel (L)

About

Shane Hazel was born in Alma, Michigan and served in the United States Marine Corps from 2001 to 2009. Hazel earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in 2006. Hazel’s career experience includes working in business development.

Issues

• Repealing the Patriot Act
• Ending qualified immunity for law enforcement officers
• Eliminating federal cannabis prohibition
• Eliminating the U.S. Department of Education


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State House of Representatives, District 1

(Savannah State University)

Mike Cameron (R)

About

Mike Cameron has 32 years in the health insurance industry working at a national level on legislation that affected people with Medicare. Cameran was chairman of the Walker County Republican Party in 2018, and he is running in this race unopposed.

Issues

• Cracking down on human trafficking and senior abuse
• Fighting against abortion
• Promoting small business growth
• Protecting rights of gun owners


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State House of Representatives, District 2

((Albany State University and Fort Valley State University)

Incumbent: Steve Tarvin

Steve Tarvin (R)

About

Steve Tarvin is a 1970 graduate of the University of Georgia. Tarvin is a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from the Second District, serving since 2014. He is running unopposed.

Issues

(via Vote Smart)
• Illegalizing abortion after a heartbeat is detected
• Prohibiting state funding for sanctuary campuses
• Protecting the Second Amendment


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State House of Representatives, District 5

(Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Interdenominational Theological Center)

Incumbent: Matt Barton

Matt Barton (R)

About

Matt Barton is a former city councilman and school member. He owns a courier business that he began when he was 21 years old. He switched parties around 2008 after becoming frustrated with Democratic leadership.

Issues

• Protecting agriculture and small business
• Prohibiting abortion after heartbeat is detected
• Lowering taxes
• Prioritizing funding education


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State House of Representatives, District 8

(Albany State University and Fort Valley State University)

Dave Cooper (D)

About

Dave Cooper retired from the Army as a Master Sergeant after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Desert Shield. He founded the nonprofit Schools to Schools Aid Project, which raises money for children’s school supplies around the world. Cooper has also worked as a strategic planner for the EPA and a freelance journalist.

Issues

• Protect Georgia’s mountains, beaches and waterways
• Lobbying for affordable health care
• Reducing taxes for veterans
• Supporting small businesses and rural development

Stan Gunter (R)

About

Stan Gunter earned a chemistry degree from North Georgia College. Upon graduation, he took a job with the Department of Agriculture as he worked his way through law school at Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta. He served as District Attorney for the Enotah Judicial Circuit for 12 years.

Issues

• Supporting law enforcement by connecting resources to combat the growing concerns of internet crime
• Reducing tax burdens and regulations on small businesses
• Promoting agriculture as a leading industry
• Lowering healthcare costs


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State House of Representatives, District 12

(Paine College)

Incumbent: Eddie Lumsden

Eddie Lumsden (R)

About

Eddie Lumsden is an insurance agent and a retired state trooper. He served on the Floyd County Commission for six years and a chairman for two years. Lumsden has a public relations degree from Berry College.

Issues

(via Vote Smart):
• Blocking public funding for abortion
• Supporting national standards and testing of public school students
• Increasing funding for law enforcement, education and transportation

Jonathan Gilreath-Harvey (D)

About

Jonathan Gilreath-Harvey is the 16th openly LGBTQ+ candidate for the state legislature this year, including five incumbents who are running for re-election. He owns an interior design firm and is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design. He is also on the board of directors for the nonprofit Helping Hands Helping Hunger, which fights children’s food insecurity.

Issues

(via Queerty and Our Democracy 2020)
• Fight anti-LGBTQ+ adoption bills
• Create drug assistance programs
• Restoring voting rights after incarceration
• Expanding internet services into rural Georgia


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State Senate, District 1

(Savannah State University)

Incumbent: Ben Watson

Ben Watson (R)

About

Watson previously served in the Georgia House of Representatives, representing District 166 from 2011 to 2015. Watson earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia, and his professional experience includes working as a primary care physician specializing in elderly patients. He is running unopposed.

Issues

• Lowering health insurance premiums
• Cutting income taxes
• Protecting Georgia’s coastal environment


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State Senate, District 2

(Albany State University and Fort Valley State University)

Incumbent: Lester Jackson

Lester Jackson (D)

About

Lester Jackson is from Chatham County and graduated from Paine College. He was the 2009 presidential appointee to the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first person from the coastal region of Georgia to serve in this capacity in over 19 years. He is running unopposed.

Issues

(via Vote Smart)
• Prohibiting sex offenders from living 200 feet of their victim
• Investing in public schools
• Increasing penalties for hate crimes


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State Senate, District 5

(Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Interdenominational Theological Center)

Incumbent: Sheikh Rahman

Sheikh Rahman (D)

About

Sheikh Rahman was born in Bangladesh. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1995 with an economics degree and is the first Muslim lawmaker in Georgia. He previously worked as a Pizza Hut executive, and is affiliated with the NAACP, ACLU and National Action Network, another civil rights organization.

Issues

• Enacting a single-payer healthcare system
• Advocating for automatic voter registration
• Creating a path to citizenship for Georgia’s undocumented immigrants
• Increasing Georgia’s minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $15/hour


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State Senate, District 8

(Albany State University and Fort Valley State University)

Treva Gear (D)

About

Treva Gear was born in Adel and lives in Brooks County. After graduating from the Cook County school system, Gear earned an education degree from Valdosta State University, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army.

Issues

• Fighting for Medicaid expansion
• Funding public education
• Improving the public transit system
• Raising Georgia’s minimum wage
• Covering veterans’ healthcare

Russ Goodman (R)

About

Ross Goodman is a farmer and businessman. He was past president of the local Farm Bureau and former board member of the Georgia Fruits and Vegetable Growers Association. In 2018, he served as the South Georgia chair for Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign.

Issues

• Expanding the South Georgia economy and creating jobs
• Lowering healthcare costs, expanding coverage and incentivizing private insurance
• Promoting small business growth
• Making sure law enforcement won’t be defunded


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State Senate, District 12

(Paine College)

Incumbent: Freddie Sims

Freddie Sims (D)

About

Freddie Sims received a social science degree from Fort Valley State University. She has worked as a middle school principal and Dougherty County’s deputy registrar.

Issues

(via Vote Smart)
• Funding highways, bridges, and ferries
• Increasing penalties for bias-motivated crimes
• Protecting abortion rights

Tracy Taylor (R)

About

Tracy Taylor is a firefighter in Albany. Taylor entered politics in 2010 when he worked for U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop's campaign. He is the first African-American to chair the Dougherty county Republican party since Reconstruction.

Issues

• Increasing police presence
• Dismantling Common Core
• Supporting nonprofit organizations
• Funding HBCUs in the state


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