Incumbent Hank Johnson wins fifth term
After defeating Tom Brown with more than 50 percent of the votes in a four-county area, Johnson said he is ready to continue to work for the issues related to the constituents in the Fourth District. District 4 covers portions of DeKalb, Rockdale, Gwinnett, and Newton counties.
“We won by fighting a real good, clean campaign,” said Johnson. “The voters have sent me back to Washington to keep working with President Obama, fighting to invest in economic growth, opportunity and fairness for our community and the American middle class,” said Johnson.
Political analyst Bill Crane said he was surprised to see Johnson’s dominance across the district.
“I expected the Congressman to win DeKalb as he did. Because Tom ran a good race, I honestly didn’t think Hank and his team were going to win all the counties,” said Crane, who has served for years as a commentator for talk radio, television and other media outlets.
Crane said although Tom won most of North DeKalb in places such as Decatur, Tucker and Chamblee, as well as some of East Gwinnett, it is very difficult to defeat an incumbent.
“People will often tell you what the people in Washington, D.C. are doing wrong, but at the end of the day they often re-elect their Congressman,” said Crane. “I don’t know if it was name identification or what, but the voters showed us they wanted to keep the Congressman in office. I think the next person who tries to run against Hank will have a very difficult time because as he has done in the past, the Congressman has earned a victory without a runoff.”
Georgia Democratic consultant Cabral Franklin agrees with Crane, stating that it is very difficult to knock off an incumbent.
“I think Tom Brown ran a good race. The power of incumbency is real and it is very difficult to defeat an incumbent congressman,” said Franklin, who co-managed the day-to-day operations of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Coordinated Campaign in 2010. “Although the district covers several counties, DeKalb is the base. Hank’s campaign likely knew the first rule of campaigns—focus on your base. As an incumbent, you will perform decently across the district, but winning DeKalb wins the election.”
As for Brown, who served as DeKalb’s Sheriff for 14 years, he said he will continue to press the issues in the district and will be around for the people of DeKalb.
“I love this district so much, especially DeKalb,” said Brown. “I’m not going anywhere. I am disappointed in the results but I am here and I will continue to speak up for the people when it comes to issues such as unemployment and the VA hospital. I’ve spent 28 years serving the people of DeKalb and I plan to take a two-year rest eventually but now I must recharge my battery and strategize on ways to keep Jeff Mann in the Sheriff’s office.”
Crane said he expects Brown to remain active in DeKalb.
“I expect Tom to stay involved. On the immediate front we can expect him to work with Jeff for Sheriff, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tom working for the GBI or gain an active role in the DeKalb County Sheriff office or even work with the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association,” said Crane.
As he prepares to serve his fifth term in office, Johnson said he is “fired up”.
“It was a humbling honor to declare our campaign's victory and it will be my privilege to serve the district in Congress for another two years. My door will always be open to the constituents of this district,” said Johnson, who before being elected to Congress, served 12 years as a DeKalb County magistrate judge and served five years as a county commissioner prior to that. “My hardworking campaign team and I couldn't have done it without all of the people who donated, volunteered and of course voted. To all who encouraged friends to support me, made phone calls, knocked on doors, and helped us raise the funds necessary to win, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”