On Friday, March 7, the city of Dawson's Reverend Ezekiel M. Holley qualified as a Democratic candidate for House District 151 which sets up a contest against incumbent Republican Gerald Greene from Cuthbert (Randolph County).
Holley and Greene were the only two people to qualify for this House District 151 race and unless an independent write-in candidate comes forward and is certified by the Secretary of State, the two qualified candidates will meet in November.
Holley is well-known as a civil rights activist in Southwest Georgia and is currently the President of the Terrell County NAACP.
Greene was one of several rural Georgia Democrats who switched parties after Republican Nathan Deal defeated Democrat Roy Barnes in November 2010.
Greene currently holds the following positions on various committees in the Georgia General Assembly which includes the position of Vice-Chairman of the Appropriations and Economic Development & Tourism committees. Additionally, Greene is a member of the Public Safety , Retirement, Rules and State Properties committees.
African-Americans make up fifty-five percent of House District 151 and the collection of counties that encompasses this district have mostly voted for progressive Democrats.
Early County is the largest population center in House District 151 with Terrell County a close second. The following is a list of the counties that represent the district.
Dougherty (Christ Church and Darton College precincts)
Holley's qualifying provides an opportunity for Democrats to reclaim this seat.
A win by Holley in November can help slow down Republican efforts of achieving a constitutional supermajority in the Georgia General Assembly.
Subsequently, Greene was a part of the Republican majority that voted on legislation that cut funding to public education, restructured the HOPE scholarship along with supporting Republican efforts to cut early voting.
In late February 2011, Greene had signed his name as "Greene 149" as one of more than 90 Republican sponsors to Mark Hatfield's House Bill 401. Prior to redistricting in the summer of 2011, Greene represented House District 149.
House Bill 401 did not reach the floor for a vote, but it is noteworthy that Greene had signed his name to this type of legislation as one of its original supporters.
There was a national furor from Republicans such as Donald Trump and other Tea Party folks who openly questioned President Barack Obama's citizenship and the authenticity of his birth certificate.
Prior to Nathan Deal winning in November 2010, the soon-to-be Republican governor had sent a letter in November 2009 to President Obama demanding an acceptable birth certificate.
State Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross, had made a political calculation introducing a bill that would require 2012 presidential candidates to provide 'sufficient' evidence that proves whether a candidate running for the highest office in the land was born in the United States.
In January 2012, Hatfield represented two men in Georgia who had filed challenges to President Obama's appearance on Georgia's March 2012 primary ballot, on the grounds that Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States.
A hearing conducted by an administrative law judge at the request of the Georgia Secretary of State determined that Obama was a natural born citizen. The Secretary of State agreed, and directed that Obama's name remain on the ballot. Hatfield's appeal of the determination was dismissed in Georgia Superior Court.