Most of the talk among Democrats regarding the November midterms has to do with flipping control of the House of Representatives, and maybe having an outside shot at doing the same to the Senate. But in an age where all politics seems to be national, and activists and voters are looking for sudden, sweeping change, it's important to also recognize that there are electoral fights happening everywhere, with real ramifications for real people.
While a lot of focus in the state of Georgia revolves around the gubernatorial contest featuring Stacey Abrams' attempt to become the nation's first black female governor, the state Senate features a number of important races. While control may not be at stake - at least not yet - Republicans currently hold 38 of the 56 seats in the chamber, which happens to be the exact number that gives them a veto-proof majority. Obviously, if Ms. Abrams is to win, her ability to govern would be greatly hindered if Republicans maintain this supermajority.
Step one to breaking GOP control of the state is the simplest one - running against them. For a decade, Democrats had failed to do that against Republican Sen. Bill Cowsert. This year, though, the party has a candidate in Marisue Hilliard, who worked for the US Forest Service for 30 years and who started a local chapter of Moms Demand Action in Northeast Georgia.
In contrast to Sen. Cowsert, who voted for the NRA-supported firearm omnibus and consistently receives high scores from the group, Hilliard is a strong advocate for gun safety, and understands that gun violence is a political problem that can be solved by politicians of will. Like all of us, she's frustrated by legislative inaction, and ready to work towards solutions. Among the priorities laid out on her website, she highlights universal background checks, raising the minimum age for purchase to 21, and barring domestic abusers from access to firearms - something Georgia currently lacks a mechanism to enforce.
Democratic enthusiasm and a strong candidate at the top of the ticket give the party a golden opportunity to break the GOP stranglehold on the state's politics and end their veto-proof majority in the Senate. As Marisue Hilliard prepares to officially kick off her campaign this weekend, LEAP Forward is happy to endorse her in this race. Her voice and her willingness to act on this issue are desperately needed in Atlanta as the state seeks to turn the page on years of failed Republican leadership - leadership that Cowsert currently leads in Atlanta. I look forward to watching her race and following her career.