Candidate fields for 2020 races in Georgia take final shape

ATLANTA – Crowded candidate fields for two U.S. Senate races on Georgia’s 2020 ballots took final shape Friday, the deadline for contenders to sign up. Meanwhile, a woman recently pardoned by President Donald Trump filed paperwork to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta.

A total of 21 candidates, including recently appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, paid fees and filed paperwork to be on the Nov. 3 ballot for Georgia’s special election for Loeffler’s seat.

That race won’t be preceded by the normal party primaries to thin the pack before the fall. The crowded field only increases odds that the race will get pushed into overtime with a Jan. 5 runoff between the top two vote-getters in the race for retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s old seat.

Loeffler, who took office in January by appointment of the governor, and GOP rival U.S. Rep. Doug Collins aren’t the only Republicans in the free-for-all. Other GOP contenders who qualified include Derrick Grayson, Wayne Johnson, Kandiss Taylor and Annette Davis Jackson.

Democrats officially in the race include the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of the Atlanta church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached; Ed Tarver, who served as U.S. attorney for Georgia’s Southern District under President Barack Obama; Matt Lieberman, an educator and the son of former vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman. Tamara Johnson-Shealey, Joy Felicia Slade, Richard Dien Winfield, Deborah Jackson and Jamesia James also qualified as Democrats.

“This is a critical moment in the history of our country, so many people are depending on us,” Warnock told reporters at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Friday after filing his paperwork.

Several third-party and independent candidates also qualified to challenge Loeffler, including Libertarian Brian Slowinski, Green Party candidate John “Green” Fortuin, independents Al Bartell, Allen Buckley, Michael Todd Greene and Georgia state Rep. Valencia Stovall, and Rod Mack.

In Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race, Republican Sen. David Perdue drew no opposition from within his own party as he seeks a second term.