Crediting his win to the community’s desire for change in politics, attorney Harold Jones swept the state Senate District 22 runoff Tuesday, edging out two-term Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson for a seat in the Georgia Legislature.
Jones garnered 61 percent of the votes in a race with 12 percent turnout, and said voters gravitated toward his message of “representation for all.”
“The way this has happened shows Augusta does want change, and we’re going to do that,” said Jones, Augusta’s former solicitor general and now one of three attorneys representing Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s now time to get to the people’s business … This is a new day, this is absolutely a new day for our community.”
Jones campaigned on the platform to reform the state’s outdated education funding formula that allocates money based on size instead of need; attracting industry to bolster jobs; decriminalizing traffic offenses and alternative sentencings for marijuana possession.
Supporter Jo’Rae Jenkins said outreach on social media was a strategy used by the campaign team that gave Jones an edge and built an awareness of his causes.
“It showed people who Harold really is, about his character and heart,” she said.
During his concession speech to supporters at his election party, Johnson said the number of elected officials who publicly backed Jones was “unprecedented,” which led to a race with “a lot of shenanigans and tactics thrown out there.”
“It is what it is,” Johnson said during his concession speech. “I don’t look at it as my loss, I look at it as their loss. They lost a leader who is going to be honest, they lost a leader who is going to be up-front, they lost a leader who is going to be accessible and who wants to be held accountable and wants to work with all people.”
During his campaign, Jones had the support of Sheriff Richard Roundtree, Mayor-Elect Hardie Davis, Rep. Wayne Howard and others.
Jones succeeds Davis in the state Senate after Davis resigned in 2013 to run successfully for Augusta mayor. After congratulating Jones at his election celebration at the downtown Holiday Inn on Tuesday, Davis said he plans to work with Jones regularly on legislative initiatives that will “move this city forward.”
“We are going to work with the mayor’s office, the school board and the legislative delegation as a three-legged stool to grow this community that we can all be proud of,” Davis said.