Two Georgia House Democrats say they won’t seek reelection in 2024 after they were drawn into districts with fellow Democratic incumbents.
State Reps. Doug Stoner of Smyrna and Gregg Kennard of Lawrenceville made their announcements Tuesday.
Stoner was been placed into a district with Rep. Teri Anulewicz of Smyrna, while Kennard was put into the same district as House Democratic Whip Sam Park of Lawrenceville.
Their decisions came after a federal judge accepted new congressional and legislative maps. The judge had ordered lawmakers to draw more districts with Black majorities. Republicans, seeking to limit losses to their party, paired three sets of Democratic House incumbents while creating the new districts.
The third Democratic pairing is of Reps. Saira Draper and Becky Evans of Atlanta. Both have said they will still seek reelection, meaning primary voters will decide.
There’s also one set of House Republicans drawn into the same district — state Reps. Beth Camp of Concord and David Knight of Griffin. That could create another primary battle.
Democrats are likely to gain two seats in the state House overall as a result of the court-ordered redistricting, because lawmakers were ordered to create two Black-majority districts around Macon where Republican incumbents are likely to lose out. The three Democratic pairings in metro Atlanta would prevent Republican losses from three other likely Democratic districts that were created. Republicans currently have a 102-78 majority in the House.
Stoner, who served in the state Senate from 2005 to 2013, lost a reelection bid in 2012 after Republicans redrew that district to favor their party. He initially served in the House from 2003 to 2005, and rejoined the chamber in 2023. He said Anulewicz was a friend since they had served together on the Smyrna City Council and that he didn’t want to run against her.
“She will serve my former constituents in the new House District 42 well,” Stoner said in a statement. “I look forward to finding other opportunities to serve my community.”
Kennard, who is in his third term in the House, similarly said he didn’t want to run against Park, who he said had mentored him when he ran for office and joined the General Assembly.
“He’s a really important voice down at the Capitol, so my heart would not be in a race opposing him,” Kennard told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.