The return of the Carter name to Georgia politics

On Wednesday night, the grandson of Jimmy Carter hosted a gathering in Decatur to launch his campaign for a state Senate seat that is not quite available yet.

Jason Carter, 34, is the first of the former president’s grandchildren to seek public office. “I think if I didn’t give politics a chance, then I would be leaving some opportunities on the table to make a difference,” the young attorney said. “That may sound canned, but it’s not.”


Jason Carter

The former president, who left his state Senate seat in 1966 to make a first run for governor, has endorsed his grandson’s venture. “He said, ‘You’re going to have to work harder than anybody else, and always tell the truth. And that’s all the advice you’ll ever need,’ ” Jason Carter reported.

But a legacy is one part wings and one part baggage.

Jason Carter aims to replace David Adelman, who has been nominated by the Obama administration as ambassador to Singapore — but who has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

Adelman is Jewish, as is a healthy portion of Senate District 42, a Democratic slice that covers downtown Decatur and western DeKalb County, including the Emory University complex.

In case you don’t follow the subtleties of foreign affairs, Jimmy Carter’s relationship with the pro-Israel faction of the world has been somewhat shaky these past few years.

The situation isn’t lost on Jason Carter, whose pro bono work has included a legal challenge to the Republican-backed law requiring voters to supply photo ID.

A mini-resume sent out by his campaign is topped by a citation for his “efforts to protect voting rights” — from the Anti-Defamation League.

“You and I both know that the Georgia Senate doesn’t set Middle East policy. And I don’t think anybody would want it to,” Jason Carter said in an interview that preceded his Wednesday kickoff.

The younger Carter said his campaign issues will be entirely domestic in nature, even predictable — transportation, the economy and education.

That said, Jason Carter acknowledged a certain amount of bridge-building to be done. “As a candidate, and hopefully as a state senator, my job is to make sure that the people of my district trust me to do what’s right,” Carter said. “And it may be that I have to do more in certain communities to earn that trust. But it’s going to be about who I am, and what I do.”

It is important to note that Jason Carter has two ties, not one, to the state Legislature. His maternal grandfather was Beverly Langford, who served in both the House and Senate, and was a member of the state transportation board. Langford died in 1996.

Liane Levetan, the former CEO of DeKalb County, has known both sides of Jason Carter’s family. She was one of Jimmy Carter’s original bloc of supporters in his 1976 presidential campaign, and once held the Senate seat that Jason Carter now seeks.

But Levetan is also Jewish. Her grandparents, three aunts and an uncle perished in the Holocaust. Three years ago, Levetan was one of 14 members of the Carter Center’s board of councilors who resigned in protest of criticisms of Israel’s behavior made by the former president in his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

“My difference with President Carter is his concept of what Israel is and what Israel does,” she said.

Levetan arrived home the other day to find two messages from Jason Carter on her voice mail. The pair have played phone-tag ever since, but she’s interested in talking to him.

“I’m sure there will be some questions asked,” Levetan said. “And that he will be prepared to answer them.”

Others have expressed interest in the Adelman seat, including Tom Stubbs, a 2008 candidate for a Superior Court judgeship in DeKalb County.

But it may benefit Jason Carter that his more famous grandfather is appreciated for things other than his views on Arabs and Israelis.

Johnny Isakson on Wednesday estimated that the Senate might take up Adelman’s nomination sometime after the middle of January. If he’s confirmed, a special election to replace the Decatur state senator could come as early as March — while the Legislature is in session.

Which would mean that a campaign for the state Senate could be dominated by the issues of the day, including the current angst over ties — personal and financial — between lobbyists and leaders of a Republican-controlled Legislature.

Decency was Jimmy Carter’s issue 33 years ago. It might work again.

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44 comments Add your comment

Sara Mitchell

December 9th, 2009
7:04 pm

Jason is a stand up guy who will do a great job for our state. Way to go Jason! Best of luck.


December 9th, 2009
7:41 pm

Who IS this kid, other than the grandson of somebody famous? Has he been active in DeKalb, Decatur or Georgia? What’s he done for Decatur schools? What’s he done to make transportation better? I’ve been here all my life, and would much prefer someone local, who understands our needs and issues. Does he even live in the district?


December 9th, 2009
7:43 pm

Jason and Tom are both friends of mine. Good thing I don’t vote in that district. But I reckon both of them will call me asking for money.

cletus T. Rockafella

December 9th, 2009
7:59 pm

Seriously, we went through this once before and in a perverted way, we’re dealing with it again now with obama. I’ve met too many former state employees under Carter. They hate/hated his guts. I don’t hate Mr. Carter. Mr.Carter never knew the truth and never had the talent nor intelligence to be president. That said, we don’t need another buck-tooth remnant from the carter heritage to enter politics. We have enough problems without feeding a failure of an ex-president’s ego.


December 9th, 2009
9:34 pm

We are still paying for the incompetence of this man’s grandfather. Why do we always see Democrats who think that they’re entitled to an elected position. They try to tell us that theirs is a life dedicated to “public service”. I say, work for a church. That’s where my charity goes.

Heyman Roth

December 9th, 2009
9:56 pm

I know who shot Moe Green

Phil S

December 9th, 2009
10:08 pm

I know Jason and he’s a super guy that has already done great things at a young age. While I would NOT vote for someone just because of a family name, we should also NOT automatically disqualify him because of it. If you give him a chance, I think you would agree. Plus, we need some more young, smart leaders at the state capitol… Have you see that crusty old crowd lately?

do what?

December 9th, 2009
10:39 pm

God help us all if another carter gets elected office. the mans grandfather was the worse president ever to be elected and hold office. or at least until obama took office. if you elect him then you deserve what you get which is usually lots of bad choices.

Intown Lib

December 9th, 2009
10:44 pm

If Jason Carter can answer the Jewish question, I think he should be a shoe-in. The legislature needs young, smart, talented people to counter-balance the nitwits and racists that are plentiful in the General Assembly.

Katie B.

December 9th, 2009
11:07 pm

I knew Jason Carter in college. Jason is a great guy with a great moral compass. He is smart, compassionate and really able to see views from all angles. He was born in Decatur, went to Duke, went to the Peace Corp where he helped South African schools rebuild. After that, he went to the University of Georgia law school. He co-founded Democrats Work which encourages people to get involved and volunteer in their communities. He is not what you would think of when you think the word “politician.” He’s a good guy who genuinely wants to make a difference in the world. I don’t live in Georgia but I wish he was running for office in my home state. You can read more about him at:


December 9th, 2009
11:26 pm

I am sure Jason is a nice guy, but he will have to live with that last name. While I am a democrat, how can I trust another truthteller from the Carter family.


December 9th, 2009
11:27 pm

When I was young and dumb I voted for a Carter, a democrat, I won’t make the same mistake twice.


December 9th, 2009
11:28 pm

KATIE B. – You should be ashamed if you went to Duke. “…but I he were running for office….”

Paul F

December 9th, 2009
11:43 pm

Not only does Jason live in the district, he is active in the Atlanta community. He is dedicated to community service, which can not be said for most politicians. Do some research before you discount him because of his name, you will find that he has already done some great things for the community here in Atlanta.

Name One

December 9th, 2009
11:59 pm

Tom Stubbs has a temper and isn’t someone to work with others to reach compromise. We can do 1000x better than him in any elected office.


December 10th, 2009
3:19 am

Jason Carter is a chip off his Grandfather’s block. A good Man. Jason Carter is an honest Man with integrity like President Carter. In retrospect, President Carter did everything right after he was elected in 1976. Nixon and Ford had totally screwed up the economy and the Country. Nixon had impose wage and price controls years earlier. wages were stagnant. Ford was a joke, When President Carter was sworn in, the inflation rate was 15% per year and interest rates were 13%. A new word was coined to describe the Nixon/Ford total mismanagement of the economy, “Stag/flation”. President Carter was our first environmentally “Green” President. President Carter provided tax incentives to private Companies and invested Government funds into the R&D of solar energy, wind, geothermal bio-fuels, battery power, hydrogen power. Solar pane was developed by the Carter Admin. But the people were stupid and voted for that alzheimer afflected Reagan and Bush-1. Reagan promptly defunded and dismantled all of President Carter’s alternative energy programs and went right back to being dependant on Big Oil. Big oil promptly staged a phony oil shortage and jacked up the price of gas to $4.00 a gallon in today’s dollars. Big oil was Reagan and Bush’s largest campaign contributors. If it weren’t for Reagan/Bush-1 failed economic policies of the 1980’s, I could be cruising around in a hydrogen powered vehicle today, equipped with a 700 horsepower engine that only need re-fueling every 100.000 miles. Neo-Conservative-Republicanism = Stuck on Stupid and trapped in the 1980’s.

Bitter EX democrackkk

December 10th, 2009
5:30 am

Will Jason denounce the corrupt democrackkk party and run UNaffiliated? Its the ONLY way Id ever vote for him…he’s got a major hurdle to overcome with the Carter name…

STRIVE to be SMARTER than the ORIGINAL ‘party’ of SLAVERY WANTS you to BE!

another career politician

December 10th, 2009
5:50 am

Just what out country needs…another career politician….law degree…wealthy, spoiled rotten family…no real world work experience…our country will never change until we elect leaders who understand what it is like to fight for a job…have to pull themselves out of difficult places…endure suffering and struggles…like most families do…how can we trust people like him who has no idenity with the real world?


December 10th, 2009
6:42 am

What’s the problem with requiring someone who votes to present a photo ID? When voting, I have always had to verify who I am…..why can’t others? How commonsensical is that? Carter…..hmmmm?


December 10th, 2009
6:44 am

You can count on one thing: the AJC will do all it can to make sure this young man is elected. Their love affair with the Carter family endures.


December 10th, 2009
7:04 am

Oh no…….PLEEEEAASSE, say it isn’t so! We’ve already had one Carter too many!!! What a disaster his grandfather was!


December 10th, 2009
8:07 am

Jason Carter would serve the district well. We need someone smart, intelligent, and has a hide thick enough to take all the bull laid at his grand dad’s door…Jason is no more his grand dad than you are yours, or in some cases old Georgia racists….


December 10th, 2009
8:08 am

I met Jason Carter a few years back, and I can truly say he is sincere and hard working. I still find it hard to believe people will shoot you down for a family affiliation. His work in the community was new and refreshing. On the other hand, Tom Stubbs has ran for everything but the dog catcher. DeKalb Superior Court Judge, Decatur School Board, Decatur City Council, etc. Stubbs is a career candidate with suspect credentials. He has no focus and really just wants to be an elected official. Now, Mr. Stubbs is someone that I would not desire to represent me or replace our good senator David Adelman.


December 10th, 2009
8:45 am

After reading some of these comments, no wonder the Georgia House and Senate are so stupid and screwed up! It’s time for a new day and the new guy, Jason Carter!!!


December 10th, 2009
9:01 am

Oh, No!!!!!! Not another Carter to screw things up again. Please, Jason, go pick your family’s peanuts…….you and the people of the state of Georgia will be much happier.


December 10th, 2009
9:12 am

Jason’s experience, dedication to service, commitment to the local community and charisma is a refreshing addition to local politics! The prospect of Jason Carter serving as state Senate actually makes me proud to be part of Georgia politics for one of the first times.

It is time that we approach an election based on a candidate’s actual experience and ability to make a difference rather than getting all riled up about our preconceived notions of who they are. Jimmy Carter did some amazing things but also upset a lot of people, but that is NOT the issue at hand.

Jason has to bear the burden of his name, but be sure to do your research before you make any assumptions. He will definately surprise you.

Jason Carter is a great guy and will be a great state senator!


December 10th, 2009
9:22 am

I was at UGA the same time as Jason. He seemed to be a genuinely nice guy and smart too. He reminds me of Bobby Jindal.

Rhonda Atlanta

December 10th, 2009
9:25 am

“The situation isn’t lost on Jason Carter, whose pro bono work has included a legal challenge to the Republican-backed law requiring voters to supply photo ID.”

Nuff said there….another Jimmy…..oh hell no


December 10th, 2009
9:48 am

@ John Odd Owl. Thank you.


December 10th, 2009
10:12 am

Some of you people are pathetic and show exactly what is wrong with this country. Instead of studying the candidates to understand their views and agneda, you vote for or against them because of who their grandfather was, where they went to school or what party they belong to. For once try taking a little responsibility for you own vote and do your homework rather than being a lemming who follows some postulating jerk on the radio. Pathetic.


December 10th, 2009
10:26 am

Lots of people here hate Jason Carter just because of his grandfather and don’t know anything about him. I don’t know anything about him either and I live in that district — but I’ll at least give him a chance to explain himself.

Based on the idiotic comments above, its no wonder that Georgia General Assembly is full of partisan hacks. They only reflect the stupid and hatred of their voters.

Brian A

December 10th, 2009
11:05 am

I am beginning to doubt that Jim Galloway bothered to listen to Jason’s announcment speech last night. This acticle, and this discussion, has little to do with Jason Carter and what many, many people know he stands for. Jason is passionate about community service and building networks of people and organizations. He is active and visible in the local community, and to many people’s surprise, is a rather normal guy.

I wish everyone here would have listened to Jason’s speech last night. He talked about his platform: 1) strengthen the economy in decatur; 2) improving public schools; 3) protect the watershed and the enviornment; and, 4) pushing for stronger ethics reform in state government. Geogria and Dekalb County have their share of problems. We need a leader like Jason working on our behalf.

[...] Double Oy: On Wednesday night, the grandson of Jimmy Carter hosted a gathering in Decatur to launch his campaign for a state Senate seat that is not quite available yet. [...]

Erik Michielsen

December 10th, 2009
11:23 am

I’ve had the good fortune to meet Jason on several trips visiting my friends and family around the Emory / Decatur / DeKalb area. My profession is interviewing rising leaders and Jason is a stand out. I respect his individual drive for service abroad and now to his community. Between all the anger and resentment on this post that has nothing to do with Jason personally or professionally, I hope District 42 gives him a fair shot in the election.


December 10th, 2009
11:26 am

We don’t need Jason Carter if he’s pushing the liberal agenda like his gdaddy……we’ve got enough of those as it is, both at the state and national level. Everyone, click on the link below and send to everyone you know.

cletus T. Rockafella

December 10th, 2009
11:58 am

I don’t know Jason Carter, but I would NOT be willing to take a chance. Funny how oddballs like John Owl think Jimmy did everything right – Jimmy Carter did virtually everything wrong you could possibly do as a president. He, along with obama, clinton & bush will go down in history as the worst among the worst. Jason, please, go work on the farm, you’ll be better off.

James Bowen

December 10th, 2009
12:47 pm

No President has done more to bring peace to Israel that President Carter.
There was only one President worse that George W. Bush and his name is Ronald Reagan.

Rhonda Atlanta

December 10th, 2009
4:34 pm

Really James

Jimmy Carter runs off to every 3rd world country monitoring their elections while ACORN runs wild in this one. You liberals are idiots and hypocrites.

Why does Jimmy monitor elections in 3rd world countries anyway? To make sure the dictators and Tyrants win?

Jim P

December 10th, 2009
4:39 pm

Great Point Rhonda. Face plant on James at the net.

Carter was a failed governor and president. Now he is an embarrassment.

Screw Up Birther, Deather,

December 10th, 2009
5:57 pm

I know Jason and he’s a super guy that has already done great things at a young age.* Close friend from the past?

Yes we know! After he converted to the Jewish faith last week, he cure cancer, solved the banking issue by making all banks use one currency from the anti-christ. Raise his IQ level to be above the Republican Tea baggers and bought the Atlanta Falcons from Arthur Blank at a discount price by moving them to Kennesaw University as a tourist trap on interstate 85……plus he shorted the number of days in the year by banning Sunday for the Jewish faith……Also he had Glenn Beck publicly horsewipped on Emory Campus at a local Starbucks….


December 10th, 2009
7:21 pm

Rhonda, I believe Carter monitors those elections to assure that there is as little fraud as possible and to help the third world countries break from their past practices of tyrants and strongmen stealing the elections without challenge. Your insinuation that by monitoring an election, Carter influences the outcome for the dictators just shows that either nothing Carter does will suit you or you have an abysmal understanding of the real world. Judging by the intellectual quality of your post, I’m guessing both are true.


January 9th, 2010
1:24 pm

Like most of the commentators herein, I lived thru the days of 18% nearly impossible-to-get mortgages and all the other assorted ills of the Jimmy Carter administration. Even though the man himself had reasonably decent, though ultra liberal leanings, he was egregiously lied to, flummoxed and flimflammed by what has become known as the “Georgia Mafia” consisting of Sonny what’s-his-name, Hamilton Jordan and all the other sneaky, underhanded sycophants that so tarnished an otherwise fairly decent man. That said, I am soon to become a Georgia resident and we don’t need any more misguided left-wing types in any legislature of any kind whatsoever no matter how decent they are otherwise. What we really need is decent, forward-thinking conservatives who will rein in spending and serve as clarion voices for the small businessman and the fast-disappearing middle class of Americans who have historically made this THE GREATEST COUNTRY SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME!


January 11th, 2010
7:53 am

I’m sorry… I’m of the opinion that the “nut doesn’t fall far from the tree”… I wouldn’t vote for anyone who was a descendant of Jimmy Carter.

[...] Jason Carter: Candidato a Senador en el Estado de Georgia. Es nieto del expresidente Jimmy Carter. [...]