Georgia's 'millennial mayor' enters race to unseat GOP senator

Georgia's 'millennial mayor' enters race to unseat GOP senator
© Ted for Georgia

Ted Terry, the progressive mayor of Clarkston, Ga., launched his campaign Wednesday to unseat Republican Sen. David Perdue (Ga.). 

The 36-year-old Democrat, known to his constituents as the “millennial mayor,” has embraced several progressive platforms for his town, including decriminalizing marijuana, mandating a $15 minimum wage and limiting Clarkston’s cooperation with federal deportation officers.

Terry said he launched his campaign against the one-term incumbent as an effort to bring similar ideas to the Senate. 

“Campaigns are ways we can move the needle on policies,” Terry told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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“I’m running on my record. We were on the cutting edge in Clarkston,” he added. “My record as mayor has always been to challenge the establishment and disrupt the system, and being elected to the U.S. Senate would be the biggest threat to the established order.” 

Terry entered the national spotlight after being featured on season two of the hit Netflix show "Queer Eye." He pointed to his experience in an interview with the Journal-Constitution.

"If people want to know who I am, watch that 55-minute episode of Queer Eye," he said.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) hammered Terry over his progressive policies in a press release slamming his campaign announcement.

“Terry’s entry into the U.S. Senate race further highlights how the Georgia Democrat primary is following in the footsteps of the socialist sprint of the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates,” said NRSC spokesperson Nathan Brand.

“The Democrat primary field continues to grow as each candidate tries to outflank each other from the left, further away from mainstream Georgia values. Meanwhile, David Perdue continues to build on his positive record of being an outsider who delivers results for all of Georgia.”

Terry joins one other Democratic candidate, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, in the race to take on Perdue. However, several others are reportedly exploring bids of their own, including Sarah Riggs Amico, who lost a race for lieutenant governor last year, and former House candidate Jon Ossoff. 

The Democratic Party failed to get its chosen candidate, Stacey Abrams, to jump into the race. Abrams helped electrify the base and emerged as a fundraising juggernaut in the 2018 gubernatorial race, which she narrowly lost. She was repeatedly courted by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US MORE (D-N.Y.) to challenge Perdue, but announced in April she didn’t believe the Senate was “the best role for me in this battle for our nation's future.”

Following Abrams's 2018 momentum and shifting demographics, Democrats view the Georgia seat as one of several possible pickup opportunities to chip into Republicans’ 53-47 majority in the Senate.

Perdue won his seat by a 53 to 45 percent margin in 2014, while President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE won Georgia by a narrower margin, 51 to 46 percent, in 2016.

“The American people have all the evidence they need,” Terry told the Journal-Constitution. “What we’ve seen from the president and Sen. Perdue is enough to defeat them in 2020."

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as “likely Republican.”