Former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and business leader Brooke Jackson-Edmond, the daughter of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, joined the efforts to elect Barnes in the July 20 primary election.
Dr. Kerwin Swint, an elections specialist at Kennesaw State, says the endorsements from prominent black leaders tells him the black community believes Barnes, who is white, can win in November. Swint said the black vote is an important part of the Democratic base in Georgia, and if Barnes is cutting into that vote, it bodes ill for other candidates, including Thurbert Baker and other black contenders.
"How important it is depends in part on who the candidate is - for Baker it is crucial," Swint said. "In November, the Dem nominee will have to get a certain level of turnout from black voters (who are about 26 percent of registered voters statewide) in order to have a decent chance. I'm sure that if Barnes is the Democratic nominee, the black community will be firmly in his corner. But turning out the vote in November could be a different matter."
Barnes, the three leaders said Monday, has the ability to restore Georgia to its position of leadership in the South.
"Roy Barnes is the best qualified to tackle the problems of employment, education, transportation and restoring confidence in government," Young said. "The people need a strong voice with unique talents to bring growth and prosperity back to Georgia."
Franklin said she was confident Barnes could begin to restore Georgia's education system.
"He learned in his term of governor that education works best when government and teachers work together for the good of children," Franklin said. "In fact, I applaud his plan to put a classroom teacher in the Governor's Office to advise on practical solutions to complex problems. The teacher's voice will be heard. Unless we want to continue business as usual we should all unite behind Roy to restore Georgia."