Overview of State Senate Races 2010



In District 2, Savannah, State Sen. Lester Jackson, a Democrat, faces a Republican opponent in the General Election, Michael Gaster.


In District 5, Norcross and Tucker, State Sen. Curt Thompson, a progressive Democrat, faces a Republican opponent in the General Election, Garry Guan.


In District 6, Smyrna, State Sen. Doug Stoner, a Democrat, faces a Republican opponent in the General Election, Frances Pollard.


In District 17, Henry, Newton, Spaulding, Rockdale, and Walton Counties, five candidates are vying for an open seat. State Sen. John Douglas, a Republican, has vacated his seat to run for Public Service Commission.

One of the candidates is Jim Nichols, 29, a truck driver for UPS and an undergraduate college student at Georgia State University.

“When I was chair of the Henry County Democrats in 2009, I was unable to find anyone to run on the ballot. I told people we have to be running candidates, articulating our values or positions. I felt like I kind of needed to put my name on the ballot somewhere because I couldn’t ask other people to do it and not do it myself,” Nichols said.

“We’re trending Democrat,” he said of its District, “I think especially with shifts in Democrats in the Southern Crescent area. Henry County has been growing a whole bunch.”

Nichols also has a blog at www.jimnichols4.com.

Nichols faces Nicholas Day in the Democratic Primary. Three candidates are running in the Republican Primary as well: Ester Flemming, Todd Hilton, and Rick Jeffares.


In District 34, Riverdale, State Sen. Valencia Seay, a Democrat, faces two Democratic opponents in the Primary, Victor Hill and Travis Spruill.

The winner of the Democratic Primary will face Zannie Billingslea, a Republican, in the General.


In District 35, Atlanta, State Sen. Donzella James, a progressive Democrat, faces two Democratic opponents in the Primary, Roberta Cooper and Torrey O. Johnson.

James won this seat back in a Special Election a few months ago, after Kasim Reed vacated it to run for Mayor of Atlanta.

She had previously held the seat, but vacated it to run at least twice against US Rep. David Scott (D-GA), a centrist. APN has endorsed James in each of her challenges of Mr. Scott.

Johnson previously challenged James in the Special Election. They went into a Run-off in a crowded field and then James won. Johnson previously had been a volunteer for James.


In District 38, Atlanta’s Buckhead area, State Sen. Horacena Tate, a Democrat, is facing Michael Adams in the Democratic Primary.

In winner of the Democratic Primary will face Beth Beskin in the General.


As previously reported by APN, in District 39, Atlanta’s Midtown and East Point, State Sen. Vincent Fort, a progressive Democrat, is facing Graham Balch, a Democrat being funded by the business community in opposition to Fort’s activism.

APN is endorsing Fort in this race.


In District 42, Decatur, Jason Carter, Democrat and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is unopposed. He ran in a Special Election a few months ago which occured when former State Sen. David Adelman was appointed as a US Ambassador.


In District 44, Clayton County, three Democratic candidates are vying for the seat being vacated by State Sen. Gail Buckner, who is running for Secretary of State: former State Sen. Gail Davenport, State Rep. Mike Glanton, and Dawn Randolph.

Former State Sen. Gail Davenport previously held the seat from 2007 to 2008, but lost in a 2008 race to Buckner. She is trying to get her former seat back.

“I think I have been working over the years for the citizens here in not only Clayton County but in the Henry County area and throughout the Southern Crescent. I have a passion for advocacy and social justice,” Davenport told APN.

“I’m the only candidate with a civil rights background and who has been fighting for inclusion of everyone,” Davenport said.

“I am the President of the local Rainbow PUSH chapter. I worked in the Atlanta office before I became the Senator the first time. I worked very closely with Joe Beasley,” a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, she said.

Davenport says she supports Clayton County joining MARTA, which is up for a referendum this month. “I grew up in Clayton County, I remember when public transit came to Clayton County. I was disappointed when the system stopped.”

“Because I’m a product of Clayton County Schools, I have a passion for that to make sure we have the resources necessary for a first class education system,” Davenport said.

Davenport acknowledged her loss in 2008, but said it was to “a former State Representative who ran for Secretary of State. The challenge I have is to make sure I get my supporters to the polls to vote.”

State Rep. Mike Glanton is the State Representative for some of the same area and is vacating his seat to run for State Senate.

“I’m a proven leader, that’s just not a slogan. I’ve had success and accomplishments at the House of Representatives,” Glanton said.

“I’ve been able to do several things that have been really productive for Clayton County itself. In terms of the educational ethics bill [I introduced]. That legislation was considered instrumental in Clayton County regaining its accredidation. The bill required the establishment of an ethics commission to oversee conduct of the Board [Clayton County School Board],” Glanton said.

“I’ve been very involved in bills for transportation funding. I served on the Transportation Committee. I was a cosponsor of HB 1218, the original version of the Governor’s transportation act,” Glanton said.

“I never missed a vote, I never missed a day, and I passed every piece of local legislation,” Glanton said, adding that “when Sen. Buckner made a decision to run for Secretary of State” people in the District asked him to run.

Dawn Randolph previously ran for the Public Service Commission and lost.


About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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