2022 Statewide Races Overview, Part Two
Graphic by Adrian Paulette Coleman, Atlanta Progressive News. Images pursuant to fair use doctrine.
(APN) ATLANTA — In our continuing coverage of the upcoming May 24, 2022 General Primary Election, this article is the second part of our overview of statewide races.
Previously, part one covered the statewide races for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Secretary of State. APN has also so far published interviews with four out of nine candidates for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor of Georgia.
This article covers the statewide races for Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, and Commissioner of Insurance.
Two candidates–State Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta) and former Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Christian Wise Smith–are running for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.
State Sen. Jordan was elected in 2017 and has served two full terms and a partial term. The 2017 Special Election was held after then-incumbent State Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) ran for Governor of Georgia.
State Sen. Jordan previously worked for the Bondurant Mixson & Elmore law firm, raising serious questions about whether she would advance the public interest as Attorney General.
Since at least the 1980’s, the Bondurant law firm has developed a reputation for decades of defending local governments across the State of Georgia in their efforts to be nontransparent to their citizens and taxpayers.
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, the BME law firm is currently representing the City of Atlanta in defending open meetings and open records violations, making hundreds of thousands of dollars off of City of Atlanta taxpayers while taking positions against the public interest.
Attorney Wayne Kendall recently told the Saporta Report that Robbie Ashe of the BME firm admitted to him that law firm profits motivate the decisions BME makes on behalf of their government clients.
“They could’ve gotten out of this case for fifteen grand,” Kendall told the Saporta Report in reference to a case involving the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority.
“But as Robbie Ashe told me, ‘We’re gonna milk this sucker. Because the board hates Harley, they hate her, and they don’t want to pay you, so that means we make a lot of money,’” Kendall recalled.
The Office of the Attorney General plays a key role under both the Georgia Open Meetings Act and Georgia Open Records Act, having the authority to bring enforcement actions against governments that do not follow the law.
Current Attorney General, Chris Carr, has shown little appetite to hold the City of Atlanta accountable, despite having this authority under law and despite being aware of the City of Atlanta’s ongoing campaign of opacity.
Previous Attorney General, Sam Olens, did more to hold the City of Atlanta accountable; only then to become a paid consultant for the City of Atlanta.
By working for the Bondurant firm, State Sen. Jordan has indicated her willingness to ally with those who work against the public interest; thus there is no reason to believe that as Attorney General, she would exercise her enforcement authority on open meetings and open records issues, especially when her former employer is involved.
Wise Smith is a former Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Atlanta
In 2020, Wise Smith ran for the Democratic nomination for Fulton County District Attorney. In that race, Fani Willis and Paul Howard, Jr., advanced into a Run-off Election. Willis won the nomination and the General Election, and now serves as District Attorney.
Republican incumbent Chris Carr is running for reelection. He faces John Gordon, a former prosecutor for Bibb County, in the Republican Primary.
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
Three Democrats are seeking the nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture: State Rep. Winfred Dukes (D-Albany), Nakita Hemingway, and Fred Swann.
State Rep. Dukes was first elected in 1997 and has served twenty-five years.
In 2020, Hemingway ran as the Democratic nominee for State House District 104, although she fell short of unseating incumbent State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Gwinnett).
Fred Swann previously won the Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture in 2018, although Republican incumbent Gary Black won reelection in the General Election.
Gary Black is not seeking reelection.
State Sen. Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla) is the only candidate seeking the Republican nomination.
COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE
Three Democrats are seeking the Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Insurance: Raphael Baker, Janice Laws Robinson, and State Rep. Matthew Wilson (D-Brookhaven).
Laws Robinson previously won the Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Insurance in 2018, although Republican John Beck won the General Election.
Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Commissioner Beck in 2019 after Beck was indicted on 38 federal counts. John King was appointed as Beck’s interim replacement.
State Rep. Wilson was elected in 2018, unseating then-Republican incumbent State Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven); and has served two terms.
Republican incumbent John King is seeking reelection for Commissioner of Insurance; and he faces two Republicans in the Republican Primary: Ben Cowart and Patrick Witt.
In 2016, Cowart ran for Fulton County Sheriff, making news after he made a controversial social media post, in which actor John Wayne was portrayed as shooting bicyclists.
Witt served as part of the administration and legal team of former U.S. President Donald Trump, and has been endorsed by Trump for the Republican nomination.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2022)