Qualifying Week Wraps Up at Georgia Capitol

Dave Williams

Monday, March 11th, 2024

Capitol Beat is a nonprofit news service operated by the Georgia Press Educational Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Georgia. For more information visit capitol-beat.org.

Every member of Georgia’s congressional delegation running for reelection this year will face at least one opponent.

But as Qualifying Week at the state Capitol ended on Friday, the most interesting congressional race will be for the only open seat in the 14-member delegation. With U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point, leaving office, seven Republicans had signed up to run in the heavily Republican 3rd Congressional District when the qualifying deadline fell at noon.

The list includes several former state legislators: former state Sens. Mike Dugan of Carrollton, who served as Senate majority leader for three two-year terms; former Sen. Mike Crane of Newnan, who served two terms and part of a third in the state Senate, and former state Rep. Philip Singleton, also from Newnan, who was elected in 2019 but fell victim to legislative redistricting in 2021.

While 10 of the 13 congressional incumbents seeking reelection will not face a primary challenge, three others will have win party primaries on May 21 to advance to the general election in November.

Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, who is running for another two-year term in the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District, is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson and state Rep. Mandisha Thomas of South Fulton. In the 11th Congressional District, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, will face two challengers in the Republican primary.

But the congressional incumbent facing the most opponents from inside his party is Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta. Scott’s 13th District – like McBath’s 6th District – was significantly redrawn by the General Assembly’s Republican majorities late last year, leaving him with a lot of new constituents.

Six Democrats qualified this week to challenge Scott in the upcoming primary, including Marcus Flowers, the Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, in 2022.

Unlike the congressional landscape, where every incumbent is being opposed in a party primary and/or the general election, 26 incumbent state senators will get to relax during this election year because they didn’t draw any opposition.

Sixteen Republican state senators and 10 Democrats skated through Qualifying Week unchallenged and, thus, have automatically won another two-year term under the Gold Dome.

Four of the 56 Georgia Senate seats are being vacated by incumbents deciding not to seek reelection. Republican Sen. Shelly Echols of Gainesville, who chaired the Senate redistricting committee that redrew the Senate maps last year, announced Friday that she is leaving office after serving a single term.

Longtime Democratic Sens. Horacena Tate of Atlanta, who has missed this year’s legislative session due to illness, and Valencia Seay of Riverdale also did not qualify to seek reelection this week. Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, announced late last month that she will leave office this year.

The three open Democratic state Senate seats drew a flurry of interest from Democrats this week. Eighteen Democrats qualified to seek those seats, including former Rep. Randall Mangham, who is running to succeed Butler.

Nadine Thomas, another former Democratic lawmaker who left the Senate way back in 2005, qualified in Senate District 44, where she will take on incumbent Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, in the Democratic primary. The new Senate map moved Parent’s district east and south to include part of Clayton County, where Thomas lives.

In the Georgia House, eight incumbents have opted not to seek reelection. The most prominent departure is that of House Minority Leader James Beverly, D-Macon. Other Democrats leaving office at the end of this year include Reps. Pedro “Pete” Marin of Duluth, Gloria Frazier of Hephzibah, Gregg Kinnard of Lawrenceville, and Doug Stoner of Smyrna.

On the Republican side, the retirees include Reps. Penny Houston of Nashville, Clay Pirkle of Ashburn, and David Knight of Griffin.

Two Democratic House members – Reps. Becky Evans and Saira Draper of Atlanta – will face off in the Democratic primary after being put inside the same House district during the redistricting session.

Not surprisingly, House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, qualified to run for reelection unopposed.



Here is the list of candidates who qualified for congressional seats this week:

District 1


U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter*


Patti Hewitt

District 2


Chuck Hand

Wayne Johnson

Regina “Reggie” Liparato

Michael Nixon


U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop*

District 3


Jim Bennett

Ray Blair

Michael Corbin

Mike Crane

Mike Dugan

Brian Jack

Philip Singleton


Val Almonord

Maura Keller

District 4


Eugene Yu


U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson*

District 5


John “Bongo” Salvesen


U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams*

District 6


Jeff Criswell


U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath*

Jerica Richardson

Mandisha Thomas

District 7


U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick*


Bob Christian

District 8


U.S. Rep. Austin Scott*


Darrius Maurice Butler

Vince Watkins

District 9


U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde*


Tambrei Cash

District 10


U.S. Rep. Mike Collins*


Alexandra “Lexy” Doherty

Jessica Fore

District 11


U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk*

Lori Pesta

Mike Pons


Antonio Daza

Katy Stamper

District 12


U.S. Rep. Rick Allen*


Daniel “DJ” Jackson

Liz Johnson

District 13


Jonathan Chavez

Johsie Cruz Fletcher


Mark Baker

Marcus Flowers

Brian Johnson

Uloma Kama

Rashid Malik

Karen Rene

U.S. Rep. David Scott*

District 14


U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene*


Clarence Blalock

Shawn General Harris

Deric Houston

Joseph Leigh

*denotes incumbent