Michael Johnson announces Democratic challenge to John Lewis

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson’s resignation went into effect on Friday. He didn’t waste any time – my AJC colleague Bill Rankin just received this mass e-mail from the former jurist:

“I hope this email finds you doing well. I wanted to extend my gratitude to you for your interest in my career and in particular my future endeavors beyond the judicial arena. I also wanted to inform you and your readers that I am running for Congress; specifically, I am seeking the office of 5th District Congressional Representative, as a Democrat, in the upcoming 2012 election. Again, thank you for your interest and if you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call…..”

So U.S. Rep. John Lewis will have some substantial opposition in next year’s July 31 primary.

You know who may be happiest about the development? Supporters of a regional sales tax for transportation – who have been wondering what might drive Democratic voters to the polls.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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21 comments Add your comment

Parker Rubye

June 6th, 2011
3:10 pm

Judge Johnson is no Markel Hutchins. Let the fun begin!


June 6th, 2011
3:28 pm

Maybe I’m just ignorant of Democratic politics in metro Atlanta, but wouldn’t it be smarter to wait until after reapportionment?
It seems David Scott or Hank Johnson would be better targets to try to unseat than John Lewis. Of course, maybe he just wants to challenge Lewis.
Not that reapportionment will force him to run in a certain district; he can qualify in any Georgia CD he wants.


June 6th, 2011
3:36 pm

Is the transportation tax voted on with the primary (where the real fight will be) or in the general election (to which, generally, no one shows up)?


June 6th, 2011
3:47 pm

Yes, the transportation sales tax vote is in the general primary on July 31. Chances are that it will have a far lower and more Republican turnout than the general. Two statewide races, both for seats on the Public Service Commission, will top the ballot.


June 6th, 2011
3:52 pm

I was really hoping it was Hank Johnson in the story and that he was moving and that we would not have to deal with him anymore.

Although I do have to praise him for voting against the Patriot Act extension. I really wish the two traitors that infest the senate seats from GA would have had the principles to vote against it, but they and their friends are making too much money and wielding too much power thanks to that unconstitutional act. Isakson and Chambliss have no business calling themselves americans.


June 6th, 2011
4:19 pm

Notes: 1) Booooooo. 2) I thin this is chiefly about creating name recognition for 2014. But also that this is extremely short-sided. John Lewis is not going to lose this race…but more to the point no politician or Clergyman is going to endorse someone other than Lewis. I can see this being done to Hank Johnson…but this is just a political equivalent of hari-kari. Why even go down this road. 3) Galloway makes a salient point that this will help Dem Turnout, and it might help the tax battle. to come but it certainly is of no value to the the Dems in the General. I just think this is stunningly naive


June 6th, 2011
4:20 pm

Did the Sec of State pick a date for the presidential primary yet?


June 6th, 2011
5:01 pm

John Lewis is a fossil that should have retired years ago, but as long as he draws breath, the voters in his district will keep sending him back so he can blindly shill for the DNC.

Anyone who remains Congressman-for-Life is a large part of what’s wrong with the country these days, IMHO.

same ol stuff

June 6th, 2011
5:04 pm

Regardless of the question, I’m sure John Lewis with begin each answer with “Well, when I marched with Dr. King…..blah blah blah”

Parker Rubye

June 6th, 2011
5:07 pm


Nothing “is being done” to Congressman Lewis. He got a primary opponent, that’s all. Lewis has endured much worse before.

You’re probably right about the endorsement factor, but endorsements don’t win races. I’m sure Johnson has an inkling of what it takes to win office (he had to win a countywide judicial race, after all), as well as friends and supporters of his own. This is not some wacko we’re talking about.

At the end of the day, it is better for our democracy that a sitting Member of Congress gets challenged by a well-qualified opponent than not. If John Lewis deserves to get reelected, he will have ample opportunity to convince the voters.


June 6th, 2011
6:08 pm

Lewis in landslide.

Dave Walker

June 6th, 2011
6:35 pm

Michael Johnson is a felon. He will be in jail before the primary even takes place.

His is also a closet republican with close ties to the Georgia Republican Party. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t lie and say you are a democrat when you are not.

[...] GA-05: Days after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson resigned from the bench, he [...]

[...] • GA-05: Days after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson resigned from the bench, he announced he would challenge veteran congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis in the Democratic primary. Johnson, like Lewis, is black (the 5th is plurality African-American), so this race may hinge more on age and tenure. Lewis is 71 and has served since 1987; going by his bio, Johnson appears to be in his early 40s. [...]

[...] GA-05: Days after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson quiescent from a bench, he announced [...]

shelley wynter

June 8th, 2011
8:20 am

If johnson runs a smnart race and galvanizes young professionals who are quickly filling up metro atl then he wins.


June 8th, 2011
8:39 am

@Shelley — You’re a Republican and so is Johnson. At least have the decency to be honest about it.

shelley wynter

June 8th, 2011
9:03 am

I am a conservative. first and foremost. I am also independent as evidenced by my support of many dems and repubs Obama being one. as a matter of fact i think (POSITIVE) i supported obama before your beloved lewis did. So if you believe i am a repub then you have to admit that i supported our president before you and he did, who are both dems. Come on man please be better than that. I supported Hank johnson, did not like either roy or deal as my choices, voted for sonny the same year I voted for dems. so i am not a party hack for either team. I am for the BEST candidate.

shelley wynter

June 8th, 2011
9:10 am

@dave walker didnt you get paid by norwood to run against mitchell for City council president? Watch who you call a felon LMAO


June 8th, 2011
5:06 pm

Shelley so you smile and grin in Lewis face at his campaign event last cycle at Washington Park. Now you are back to your old tricks when you wee on the air. Well you see what happend the last time you and your ugliness tried to mess with Lewis. Need a job? As for the Joshua and the Moses, get a new analogy that one is old and by the way how many Joshuas who ran against the Moses won in the 2008 Elections! Except for Obama, most got a spanking! Same this time. Johnson has no way of every winning against Lewis! Who is he anyway? So you and the cronies can just keep on coming because Lewis loves the element that he is in and in case you haven’t notice loves a god fight! He lives for this! So bring it! Also, stop sounding stupid when you say what Lewis hasn’t done and check your facts. Be my guess and visit http://www.house.gov/johnlewis so that you can see what he “HAS DONE FOR THE CONGRESSIONAL 5TH DISTRICT OF GA.”

[...] Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson says that he plans to challenge longtime U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a pioneer in the civil rights movement, in next year’s Democratic [...]