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Who’s who: 20 candidates running in special election for US Senate seat in Georgia

Race will likely advance to Jan. 5 runoff

20 candidates in special election for U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.
20 candidates in special election for U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. (Sources: Atlanta Press Club, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Ballotpedia)

The wildest race on Georgia’s Nov. 3 ballot is a 20-way, winner-take-all special election to fill the last two years of the term of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Kelly Loeffler was appointed to temporarily fill the seat, but the law requires a special election.

There’s no primary, just everyone on the ballot at once. Five Republicans signed up to challenge Loeffler, as did six Democrats and eight candidates from smaller parties or no party at all.

With 20 people in the race and the rules requiring 50% of the vote to declare a winner, it’s almost certain the top two candidates with the most votes in November will contest in a runoff on Jan. 5 -- two days after all the other members of the next U.S. Senate take the oath of office.

You may have seen some coverage of a few of the better-known and better-financed candidates, and some recent high-profile announcements by former presidents and former governors. But News4Jax wanted to give you a thumbnail look at everyone on the ballot from what we’ve learned from various sources, including the candidates' website and other public sources.

Here they are (in alphabetical order).

Al Bartell - independent

Bartell is an independent business consultant, certified mediator and military veteran. He has previously run for both governor and Atlanta City Council president. Bartell has not served in public office.

Campaign website: bartellforsenate.com

Allen Buckley - independent

Attorney, businessman and treasurer of the Smyrna Jonquil Lions Club, Buckley lives in Smyrna with his wife and children. He has never held public office.

Campaign website: buckleyforsenate.org

Doug Collins - Republican

Currently residing in Gainesville, Georgia, with his wife and three children, Douglas currently serves in Congress representing Georgia’s 9th District. Collins also serves with a lieutenant colonel status as chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Campaign website: dougforgeorgia.com

John Fortuin - Green Party

A property manager with over 20 years in computer programming and analysis, John Fortuin has never held public office. Fortuin was a board member of the DeKalb League of Women Voters.

Campaign website: fortuinforgeorgia.com

Derrick Grayson - Republican

Derrick, a resident of Stone Mountain, is a network engineer and also a minister who ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 and 2016.

Campaign website: graysonforga.com | Background: ballotpedia.org/Derrick_Grayson

Michael Todd Greene - independent

A former educator and resident of Mableton, Greene has never held public office.

Campaign website: michaeltodd2020.com

Annette Davis Jackson - Republican

Lilburn, GA’s very own Annette Davis Jackson, is a businesswoman in Lilburn. She also ran for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Campaign website: annettedjackson.wixsite.com/ussenate

Deborah Jackson - Democrat

An attorney for 30 years, Deborah Jackson lives in Lithonia, where she has served for mayor for eight years. She also teaches part-time at Georgia State University.

Campaign website: deborahforgeorgia.com

Jamesia James - Democrat

A war veteran from Johns Creek, James served on the staff of U.S. Rep. John Lewis from 2016-2018.

Campaign website: jamesiajames4ussenate.com

A. Wayne Johnson - Republican

Wayne Johnson was CEO of the Department of Education’s Student Financial Aid Office until he resigned to run for Senate. Wayne resides in Macon, and reports a previous entrepreneurial background in the consumer finance, and customer service support industries.

Campaign website: johnsonsenate.com

Tamara Johnson-Shealey - Democrat

A businesswoman hailing from Gwinnett County, Johnson-Shealey previously ran for Georgia Senate in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Campaign website: tamaraforgeorgia.com

Matt Lieberman - Democrat

Former school teacher Matt Lieberman from Cobb County. He is a single father of two and also the son of former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was the running mate of Al Gore in the 2000 presidential campaign.

Campaign website: liebermanforsenate.com | Background: cnn.com/2019/10/03/politics/matt-lieberman-georgia-senate-democrat

Kelly Loeffler - Republican

Incumbent for 10 months after she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp, Kelly Loeffler lives in Atlanta with husband Jeffrey Sprecher. Loeffler is part owner of the Atlanta Dream, professional women’s basketball team.

Campaign website: www.kellyforsenate.com | Background: rollcall.com/2020/01/06/who-is-kelly-loeffler

Joy Felicia Slade - Democrat

A physician practicing in Dekalb County. Joy has not previously held or run for any public office. No website is found.

Brian Slowinski - Libertarian

A self-proclaimed “Mom Dad”, Brian is retired and lives in White Plains, GA with his wife and children. Brian has previously run for Georgia’s House of Representatives in 2014, however, has not yet held any public office.

Campaign website: voteslowinski.com

Valencia Stovall - independent

She currently represents District 74 of the Georgia House of Representatives. Stovall is a businesswoman and lives on the southside of Atlanta.

Campaign website: gostovall.com

Ed Tarver - Democrat

An attorney and former Georgia legislator, Tarver lives in Augusta with his wife, Carol. From 2009-2017, during the Obama administration, Tarver served as U.S. attorney to Georgia’s Southern District.

Campaign website: tarverforsenate.com

Kandiss Taylor - Republican

Kandiss Taylor, a former third grade teacher, is currently an administrator with the Appling County Board of Education and lives in Baxley with her husband and three children. She has not held public office.

Campaign website: kandisstaylor.com

Raphael Warnock - Democrat

Pastor and former chair of the nonpartisan voter registration group, the New Georgia Project, originally founded by Stacey Abrams. Warnock currently serves as the fifth pastor in the 134-years history of Ebenezer Baptist Church -- the same church the late Martin Luther King Jr. pastored.

Campaign website: warnockforgeorgia.com | Background: .nytimes.com/2020/01/30/us/raphael-warnock-ebenezer-baptist-georgia-senate.html

Richard Dien Winfield - Democrat

Professor of philosophy and researcher at the University of Georgia, Winfield lives in Athens with his wife and children. Richard previously ran for a seat in Georgia’s House of Representatives in 2018.

Campaign website: winfieldforsenate.com