Last Monday was the first day of qualifying for candidates seeking office in Federal, Statewide, and local races. First in line was Francys Johnson, a 38-yearold attorney and pastor from Statesboro. Johnson qualified as a Democrat in Georgia’s 12th Congressional District against the Incumbent, Rick W. Allen (R- Augusta).
“America’s got big problems. I still believe that there is no problem we cannot resolve when we put people first,” said Francys Johnson echoing his campaign theme. “I will not answer to the President, nor partisan and special interests power brokers, or big corporate elites. Unlike Rick W. Allen, I will be accountable to my neighbors,” said Johnson citing the incumbent’s conspicuous silence about controversial Administration policies, virtual absence from the district functions, and reluctance to hold town halls opting instead for teleconference calls with limited options for constituents to ask questions.
Raised on a family farm in Sylvania, Francys Johnson has served in ordained ministry for more than eighteen years. He serves as Senior Minister at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Pembroke, Georgia and Magnolia Baptist Church near Brooklet, Georgia. Additionally, Johnson who has taught constitutional law, criminal law and American government at Georgia Southern University and Savannah State University practices criminal and civil law from his office on Main Street in downtown Statesboro.
Johnson, who was mentioned as a possible challenger to Rick Allen (R-Augusta) since stepping down as President of the state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, the Georgia NAACP, in July 2017 stated then that “Our nation is in crisis. This moment calls for every head, heart, and hand to engage the work of ensuring that all the promises of our democracy are fulfilled. The upcoming midterm election carries consequences unlike any other congressional election in our lifetime. This election will either reinforce and sustain the path we’re on — or change it. I promise no one will work harder to turn this momentum for change into a reality.”
Politicos are watching. “Georgia’s 12th Congressional District is the most gerrymandered seat in Congress; if Democrats can win there they can break the Republican code and regain power nationally,” said Dr. Saba Jallow, a political scientist. Johnson is credited with restoring the voting rights litigation prowess of NAACP in Georgia while attracting younger professionals and bridging the gaps in Georgia between millennial activists groups such as Black Lives Matter. “The midterms are all about turning out your base and Johnson can excite the democratic base while bringing national attention and crucial financial support to this race,” said Jallow.
The deadline for qualifying for Federal Office is March 9, 2018 with the General Primary decided by voters on May 22, 2018 across the 19 counties of Bulloch, Columbia (Partial), Richmond, Burke, Jenkins, Screven, Emanuel, Treutlen, Laurens, Wheeler, Montgomery, Toombs, Candler, Effingham (Partial), Evans, Tattnall, Appling, Jeff Davis, and Coffee.