Democrat Terrence White said Monday he will seek to turn one Georgia House seat blue for the first time in decades in 2020.
White, a Hiram resident and longtime party activist, said he intended to seek the Democratic nomination for the House District 19 seat representing the eastern edge of Paulding County in the May primary.
“We are a diverse and growing community in District 19 and I believe we’re past due in electing representation that reflects our community,” White said.
House District 19 is a long, narrow district running along Paulding’s eastern border with Cobb County. It extends from Shelton Elementary School on Cedarcrest Road in the north, to Pine Valley and Nebo roads in the south and includes the city of Hiram.
The winner of the Democratic nomination in May likely will face first-term incumbent District 19 State Rep. Joseph Gullett, R-Dallas, in November.
Gullett was elected in 2018 after ousting fellow Republican Paulette Rakestraw, who had served four terms in the seat.
However, Democrat Stacey Abrams won her only Paulding voting precinct in District 19 as part of her close loss to Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 governor’s race.
White is a graduate of Paulding County High School and serves as a state committee member and vice chair of community and voter outreach for the Paulding County Democratic Party.
He owns a political consulting business dedicated to working with Democratic organizations, candidates, and elected officials in rural Georgia, he said.
He also does communications work for District 66 State Rep. Kimberly Alexander, D-Hiram.
White said he volunteered for the campaigns of Atlanta Councilwoman Mary Norwood and Councilman Kwanza Hall; and also volunteered with the Human Rights Campaign and In Life Atlanta — organizations involved in the LGBTQ community.
He also unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Hiram City Council in 2015.
White cited the influence of his mother, who as a single parent was able to raise White and his brother despite financial pressures.
“For over nearly a decade, I’ve dedicated myself to being an advocate for my neighbors, not only in this community, but across the state of Georgia as well.
“I have worked tirelessly to be a voice for those who simply feel at times: hopeless or lost. No matter the person’s political affiliation, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation or ethnic origin, I’ve always made an effort to put their issue first,” he said.
Gullett said he welcomed “any and all people that want to qualify to run for office.”
“We live in a republic, and that requires people willing to serve. To that end, welcoming my Democrat opponent into this campaign means Paulding County will see a stark contrast between two sides of the political spectrum.
“I stand by what we believe in Paulding County — representatives are not meant to dictate manifestos to their neighbors but create a limited, focused government that protects their rights and defends their opportunity to create a better world for themselves and their families.
“I suspect we’ll have disagreements on that belief, and I know I’ve stood true to the Paulding County values I was elected to represent,” Gullett said.
The GOP has held the District 19 seat and its predecessors since 1996 when former House speaker Glenn Richardson became the first Republican elected from Paulding County to the state House in more than a century.
Richardson went on to serve seven terms in the House and was the first Republican elected House speaker in more than 130 years in 2005.