UNITED STATES NEWS

Georgia Democrat Mesha Mainor, at odds with her party, switches to Republicans

Jul 11, 2023, 2:42 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia state legislator from Atlanta switched to the Republican Party on Tuesday, after being at odds with Democrats for reasons including her support for school vouchers and disciplining prosecutors.

Rep. Mesha Mainor becomes the only Black member of the GOP among Georgia’s 236 state lawmakers, and the first Black Republican woman to ever serve in the Georgia General Assembly. Mainor’s defection gives Republicans a 102-78 edge in the House.

Mainor said legislative Democrats drove her out of the party for breaking party orthodoxy, claiming at a Tuesday news conference outside the Georgia Capitol that they had “relentlessly tried to sabotage every single thing that I have done for District 56” and “publicly slandered me in every way imaginable.”

“I thought it was OK to not agree with those things as a Democrat. But they told me, ‘You know what, those are values we just don’t have,’” Mainor said, flanked by state Republican Party Chairman Josh McKoon.

But she had long been on the outs as part of a minority faction of Atlanta-area Democrats and for deeply personal reasons revolving around a stalking incident where Mainor felt her stalker got off too easy.

The tension between Mainor and other Democrats burst into the open earlier this year after Mainor became the only Democrat to posted a picture of a $1,000 check online for a primary challenger, writing “All I need is a name.”

Mainor, first elected in 2020, represents House District 56, an ultra-Democratic swath of Atlanta including its Midtown neighborhood and close-in parts of the city’s west side. She had said earlier that she wouldn’t switch parties. Tuesday, though, she urged other lifelong Democrats to reexamine the party’s values.

“I am encouraging more Black Americans and Black Democrats in particular – you might have this coat on, but I suggest you look at the lining. See what’s on the inside,” she said.

McKoon welcomed Mainor, saying her move shows that the Republican Party is “where diversity of opinion is welcome, where different ideas, talking about different policy ideas and solutions together is a strength, not a weakness.”

“We can disagree but still come together on things that matter the most to us,” McKoon said, pledging to support Mainor’s reelection bid.

U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, lambasted Mainor’s switch as a “stinging betrayal” of her Democratic constituents.

“House District 56 deserves a representative who will do the job they were elected to do, including fight for high-quality public education,” Williams said in a statement.

House Speaker Jon Burns, a Republican from Newington, said in a statement that Mainor is “joining the party of opportunity.”

Mainor’s decision and some of her legislative actions are also driven by a much more personal dispute. She sued Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr., Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and the county in federal court in 2022, alleging that they had violated her civil rights in a case where a former campaign worker had stalked her.

Willis claimed Arrington, who was the man’s defense attorney, improperly used his position as a commissioner to get a favorable plea deal for the stalker. Mainor also alleged Willis didn’t adequately investigate the crime before offering the plea deal. U.S. District Judge Sarah Geraghty dismissed the case in March, ruling that the alleged actions couldn’t constitute a civil rights violation even if she accepted all of Mainor’s claims.

The last legislative Democrat in Georgia to switch to the Republican Party was DeKalb County’s Vernon Jones, who plunged into the GOP in January 2021 as a supporter of then-President Donald Trump, at the end of Jones’ last term in the state House. lost a Republican congressional primary runoff in Georgia’s 10th District to current U.S. Rep. Mike Collins despite Trump’s backing.

United States News

Associated Press

New York requiring paid break time for moms who need to pump breast milk at work, under new law

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York moms returning to work after giving birth will now get paid break time when they need to pump breast milk at their jobs, under a new law that took effect Wednesday. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the law requires employers in the state to provide a half hour of paid […]

52 minutes ago

Associated Press

Cooler temps and rain could help corral blazes that forced thousands to flee New Mexico village

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Cooler weather — and the chance of rain — could bring some relief this week to firefighters battling blazes in southern New Mexico that killed one person, damaged hundreds of structures and forced thousands to evacuate. Strong wind pushed the larger of two wildfires into the mountain village of Ruidoso, forcing […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Immigrant families rejoice over Biden’s expansive move toward citizenship, while some are left out

HOUSTON (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of immigrants had reason to rejoice when President Joe Biden unveiled a highly expansive plan to extend legal status to spouses of U.S. citizens but, inevitably, some were left out. Claudia Zúniga, 35, married in 2017, or 10 years after her husband came to the United States. He moved […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Early blast of heat and humidity leaves millions sweltering across the US

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A blast of heat and humidity in the Midwest and Northeast days before the official start of summer put a wet blanket on outdoor activities from festivals to sports camps as officials urged people to take precautions. Cities that opened cooling centers this week advised that Wednesday’s Juneteenth holiday means some […]

12 hours ago

This photo provided by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows a monolith near Gass Peak, Ne...

Associated Press

Gleaming monolith pops up in Nevada desert, the latest in a series of quickly vanishing structures

Jutting out of the rocks in a remote mountain range near Las Vegas, the monolith's reflective surface imitates the vast desert landscape surrounding the mountain peak where it has been erected.

15 hours ago

Associated Press

California man charged with killing gay college student takes the stand

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California man charged with killing a gay University of Pennsylvania student in an alleged hate crime six years ago testified Tuesday about how the two men connected on social media and went to a park. It was the last time the victim was seen. Samuel Woodward, 26, took the […]

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Georgia Democrat Mesha Mainor, at odds with her party, switches to Republicans