First-time candidate's 26-point win breaks GOP's state Senate supermajority in Georgia


Jen Jordan won a state Senate seat in a Georgia special election, depriving Republicans of their two-thirds vote in the chamber.

On Tuesday night, most of the attention in Georgia went to a nail-bitingly close race for the mayor of Atlanta, with Democratic candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms winning by just a few hundred votes and a recount on the horizon.

But there was another, less noticed Democratic victory, in a special election that flipped a state Senate seat from red to blue — and ended a Republican supermajority in the chamber.

Georgia’s 6th Senate District, in north-central Atlanta, became vacant following Republican Hunter Hill’s resignation to run for governor. It will now be represented by Jen Jordan, a lawyer and first-time candidate who has fought for sexual assault survivors and victims of predatory lending in court, and sued to block Georgia voter suppression laws in 2006. She supports LGBT rights, public education, a $10.10 minimum wage, and health care expansion, and won numerous progressive endorsements from Daily Kos to NARAL.

On one hand, the flip was inevitable, because Republicans did not even qualify for the runoff and her opponent, Jaha Howard, was also a Democrat. But on the other hand, Howard was as retrograde as any Republican. He has claimed that there is a “homosexual agenda” in public schools and that the Bible forbids men to educate women. Jordan ultimately beat him by 26 points.

The win is also significant because it officially ends the GOP supermajority in the Georgia Senate. Republicans already lost the supermajority in the state House of Representatives in November. This means if Democrats can win the governorship next year, Republican lawmakers will not have enough votes to automatically override vetoes, a scenario currently hamstringing Gov. Roy Cooper in North Carolina.

Georgia Democrats also elected Nikema Williams and Bee Nguyen, holding onto open Democratic seats in the state Senate and House, respectively.

Stephanie Shriock, president of EMILY’s List, was thrilled at the results:

Voters in Georgia have shown that they are ready for change by electing these impressive women leaders. Bee Nguyen, Jen Jordan, and Nikema Williams will be strong voices for working families as they fight for policies that empower women and improve the state’s economy. The EMILY’s List community is proud to stand with them as they champion policies that will improve the lives of women, protect voting rights, empower working families, and address critical infrastructure needs. We are thrilled to have their leadership in the Georgia general assembly.

All around the country, progressive women are rising up and demanding a seat at the political table. Tuesday night in Georgia, they earned it.