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'Flipping the 7th': What Lopez Romero told Forsyth County Dems this weekend
Brenda Lopez Romero 1 052219 web
State Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero addresses the Forsyth County Democratic Party at an event on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Lopez Romero recently announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination to Georgia's 7th Congressional District. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

There’s still about a year before voters will select the Republican and Democratic candidates to replace Rep. Rob Woodall in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, and over the weekend, the local Democratic Party heard from one candidate who has already made her intentions for the seat known.

On Saturday, the Forsyth County Democratic Party heard from District 99 state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero in a morning meeting at Post Road Library. She is one of several candidates to announce her candidacy following the announcement that incumbent Woodall, a Republican, would not seek re-election next year.

“This primary election cycle is about flipping the 7th, and it is about strengthening the U.S. House for the majority that we won last election cycle,” Lopez Romero said. “That’s what this primary is really about. It’s not, quite frankly, not about much of anything else because, particularly on the Democratic candidate side, many of us have very similar [positions].”

Though the race between Woodall and his Democratic challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux, who is running again in 2020, was decided by 419 votes, Lopez Romero said she felt the seat should have flipped in the last election.

While Woodall handily won Forsyth County – earning about 68 percent of the vote, or 44,887 votes – Lopez Romero said Democrats are making inroads in the community.

“I believe … we have far more Democratic voters than we think, given an option, as we already saw in the 2018 election cycle,” she said. “But I will tell you something, I participated a lot with the 6th District task force just to volunteer in both the 2016 special election and 2018 cycle. We would have lots of people sort of whisper, ‘Add me to your newsletter.’

“I think that is something very similar [here,] and that is my point about why it is important to have a holistic approach to engage all voters and touch all voters that we can.”

Attendees at the meeting also had a chance to ask the candidate their own questions, including one on new voting machines that will roll out ahead of the 2020 election. Lopez Romero said select municipalities could use the machines this year.

“There’s not enough time to be able to put them in all municipal elections, so the plan is that they’re going to have, basically, test sites where there are some counties that are going to receive some of the machines during the municipal cycle in the election this November so they can get all the kinks out,” she said. “That’s what happens with all new technology. We’ve all been with an employer that changes technology, even upgrades software, you’re always going to have those initial bugs and kinks.”

Lopez Romero is the principal attorney with The Lopez Firm in Norcross and has held the District 99 seat since 2017. If elected, she will be the first American Latina to represent the state in Congress.

The race is expected to get the attention of the national Democratic and Republican parties, and several other candidates have announced their intentions to run.

Harrison Floyd, Joe Profit and Lynne Homrich recently announced they would run for the Republican nomination, and Democrats Nabliah Islam, Marqus Cole, John Eaves and Carolyn Bourdeaux, who ran against Woodall in 2018, have announced they would run for the seat.

Parties will select their candidates in primaries next May before the November election.