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Commissioners Mount Grassroots Campaign for Democrats in Runoff

District attorney candidate Deborah Gonzalez.

Three Athens-Clarke County commissioners have started an organization to raise money and knock on doors for Democratic candidates in the Dec. 1 and Jan. 5 runoff elections.

The Athens Progressive Canvassing Corps—organized by Tim Denson, Russell Edwards and Mariah Parker—aims to raise $25,000 to train and pay 10 organizers to knock on all 27,832 doors in Athens over the next six weeks.

“We need Deborah Gonzalez as our next DA, and we need to flip the Senate, but beyond that, we need to empower working class organizers and organizers of color with living wage work and apprenticeship in the kinds of civic skills that are critical to Athens’ continual transformation. Our project accomplishes both,” Parker said in a news release.

Since the group’s announcement, state Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) and Clarke Central football coach Omar Reid have also joined the effort, according to Edwards.

Gonzalez, a progressive Democrat, faces James Chafin in the Dec. 1 runoff for Western Circuit district attorney. Chafin is running as an independent but garnered strong support in heavily Republican Oconee County in the Nov. 3 special election. Absentee ballots are available upon request now, and in-person early voting runs from Nov. 23-25.

 Three statewide runoffs are scheduled for Jan. 5. Republican Sen. David Perdue faces a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff, while Democrat Raphael Warnock is running against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Republicans are currently projected to hold 50 seats, so if both Warnock and Ossoff win, Democrats will take over the Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris providing the tie-breaking vote.

In addition, voters will decide Jan. 5 between Republican incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald and Democrat Daniel Blackmon for a seat on the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities like Georgia Power.

Georgia law requires a runoff between the top two candidates if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote.

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