Who I’m Voting For in the May 2024 Primary Election in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia

Who I'm Voting For in the May 2024 Primary Election in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia 1

Here is the problem that I run into every 2 years. I’m sold on the idea that voting in every election matters. And I’m also sold on the idea that random local offices have a much bigger impact on my day to day life than US President or US Senate.

But figuring out who to actually vote in local races for is ridiculously hard. It’s illegal for non-profits to just tell you who to vote for. And the few surviving media outlets go with generic “here are the candidates!” listicles than actual opinion pieces. And the people truly in the know about who is better / worse (i.e., other politicians and staff) are afraid to put their career on the line for a candidate who might lose.

So we’re stuck with road signs, stereotypes, hearsay, and guesswork for super important jobs…in a low turnout primary*

*I live in Fulton County, Georgia, where Republican challengers in November are irrelevant, so the actual candidate choices happen in the May primary. If you want a full slate of candidates, you’ll need to pick the Democratic ballot.

Here’s how I researched and currently plan to vote*

*Note that I’m a random voter with a website. I’m probably picking the wrong candidates! The world is super-complicated and if you are reading this and have an evidence-based opinion – please put that opinion on the public Internet, not behind a paywall or a login, where people can find it next election.

Research Resources

A bunch of the races on my ballot are listed as unopposed, but here are the actual races I plan to vote on.

For United States House of Representatives – District 5

  • Nikema Williams – VOTE! – Rep. Williams is running unopposed, but I am wholeheartedly voting for her. She’s done a good job sending out actually useful updates on what’s happening in Congress. And even though she doesn’t have the seniority of John Lewis to sponsor anything huge, she’s obviously doing something to stay in the mix and push Atlanta’s interests.

For State Senate District 36

  • Nan Orrock – VOTE! – Rep. Orrock has been the incumbent for a while. I’ve met her in person (she also lives near my neighborhood). She has seniority in the Georgia Assembly and seems to be using it well.
  • Michel Powell – I couldn’t find anything on this candidate, other than that he lost a race a few years ago.

For State House of Representatives – District 62

  • Tanya Miller – VOTE! – Rep. Miller is running unopposed, and I’m not surprised. She doesn’t have a lot of seniority yet, but she seems to be representing my district really well. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran for higher office in a couple cycles. I’ve met her and she’s exactly who I want to be in office representing my district.

For District Attorney Atlanta Judicial Circuit

  • Christian Wise Smith – This candidate seems solid enough, but he’s also run a bunch of times (?) and simply doesn’t seem to have the experience or network to run this (ridiculously powerful and high-profile office).
  • Fani Willis – VOTE! – Attorney Willis is now possibly one of the most well-known Georgians in the country. Whether you like her or not, she’s been able to operate her office under the highest pressure and the spotlight of an absolute media circus. On cases that directly affect me (like criminals in my neighborhood and my city), she’s doing much better than her predecessor. Cases seem to be moving along and justice is being served. She seems fair and competent. Violent crime is way down and the pre-trial diversion program is actually implemented. I’m voting for her again.

For Clerk of Superior Court (Fulton County)

  • Che’ Alexander – Clerk Alexander is the incumbent. She seems fine and all as a person, but my main issue is that the Fulton county real estate records are a hot mess – and have been for a while. Last year, we had an aging neighbor lose her house to deed fraud…only to be protected at the last minute by a pro-bono lawyer. She says that she’s working on it…but I’m kind of in a “toss out the incumbent” mode here.
  • Rodney Fowler – I couldn’t find significant information on this candidate.
  • Joe Hughes – VOTE! – I originally couldn’t find anything for this candidate. But he seems to have the technical chops and career experience to run this office. I don’t know how his lack of political expertise will come into the equation. Working with the Commission to actually get funding seems to be a key part of every County job.
  • Keisha Waites – VOTE! – I voted for her for Atlanta City Council. I’m a little hesitant on her qualifications for this role…but she has a default to action that I appreciate. She also has a talent for politicking that will hopefully get money & commitment from a maddening Fulton County Commission.

For Sheriff (Fulton County)

This office is extremely important right now. The Fulton County jail is a national embarrassment. The poor conditions and treatment are killing innocent people and creating cycles of crime and injustice affecting the inmates, the police, communities, and everyone living in Fulton county. It’s an absolute mess.

  • Kirt Beasley – I like her proposals and experience. I went back and forth between her and Joyce Farmer.
  • James Brown – I couldn’t find significant information.
  • Joyce Farmer – VOTE! – I like her proposals and experience. Also, from watching clips of their debate, she seems to have a handle on how to effectively improve staff morale, tactics, and negotiate with the Fulton County commission.
  • Pat Labat – I voted for him in the last cycle based on his resume. He’s spent a lot of time fighting with the County commission and recruiting staff. On one hand, I agree with his points. On the other hand, he doesn’t seem to be making any progress with the County Commission or stopping staff turnover. I’d rather put someone else in.

For Tax Commissioner

  • Arthur Ferdinand – VOTE (?) – Commissioner Robinson has been running taxes for like 25+ years. Collections are up. His operations seem fine(?). I can pay my taxes online with no issues. It seems like his main strike is that he’s totally leaning into this weird loophole in the State of Georgia Constitution that allows Tax Commissioners to personally charge government entities for processing their taxes. So…he’s making bank for a civil servant. It’s all totally legal, but just a little uneasy? I guess I’m voting for him, because he seems to get the job done.
  • Duvwon Robinson – This candidate seems fine and eager…but not super-qualified or experienced. I can’t wholeheartedly vote for him, so I’m defaulting to the incumbent here.

For County Commission District 4 (Fulton County)

  • Natalie Hall – Commissioner Hall has been pretty ineffective and embarrassing. I think it’s time for someone new.
  • Mo Ivory – VOTE! – She’s a neighbor in my neighborhood. She’s highly qualified and she’s a politician of the best sort – the type that makes an introvert’s jaw drop at the sheer number of groups and meetings and connections she has. I think she’s the type of person the Fulton County commission needs. Also…she’s from Grant Park, so I’m biased.
  • Sonya Ofchus – This candidate seems solid and fine. Her experience is fairly limited to law enforcement, so I’m not sure she has the network to jockey and politick on a very divided (and wild!) county commission.

For Justice Supreme Court of Georgia (To Succeed Andrew A. Pinson)

  • John Barrow – VOTE! – I like his experience.
  • Andrew Pinson – Judge Pinson is experienced and probably fine. I’m more voting against the officials who pushed & nominated him. That might be a bad reason, but it is a tiebreaker when both candidates are saying the exact same thing.

For Judge Court of Appeals of Georgia (To Succeed M. Yvette Miller)

Both these candidates are highly qualified and I have no real way of knowing who’s who.

  • Jeff Davis – He seems fine (?) with a prestigious and experienced background.
  • Tabitha Ponder – VOTE! – I really like that she served as a public defender. I think we need more high court judges who came up through that career track.

For Judge – Superior Court Atlanta Judicial Circuit (To Succeed Rachel Krause)

  • Rachel Krause – Being a judge is a very tough job. Balancing justice, rights, and safety is an impossible job. It requires good judgement…which I do not think Judge Krause has demonstrated. She has let repeat, violent criminals out of custody one too many times. She might make a great defense attorney (we need those!), but I don’t think she should be a judge any more.
  • Brandi Reeves – VOTE! – Attorney Reeves looks highly qualified and highly motivated. She should be our newest judge.

For Judge – Superior Court Atlanta Judicial Circuit (To Succeed Scott F. McAfee)

This is the presiding judge of the trial of Donald Trump. Vote for Scott McAffee. This trial needs as few disruptions as possible so we can get to a fair, just verdict.

City of Atlanta Special Purpose Municipal Option Sales Tax

YES – VOTE! Atlanta needs to keep fixing our sewers. It’s not sexy but I definitely don’t want sewage in my street or in my rivers.

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