The 2020 election is still more than 20 months away, but the first Democratic challenger for a U.S. Congressional seat has come forward.
Marqus Cole announced on Monday his intention to run for the District 7 House seat currently held by Rep. Rob Woodall. This is his first time running for office.
“The reason I’m running is we’re here in the community, we’ve been talking to people at church, we’ve talked to people at the carpool line at daycare, we talk to people at the grocery store and it’s clear here in our community there’s no one that feels represented,” Cole said on Monday.
A Snellville resident and owner of The Cole Law Office, Cole is a graduate of Georgia State University and DePaul University College of Law.
“My background is not as a politician. I’m not like some of those people who have done the politics thing all of their lives,” Cole said. “What I am is a person that listens to people and their problems, then goes to try and solve those problems.”
Cole’s early announcement of his candidacy makes him one of the first in Georgia to already begin jockeying for the 2020 election. On Saturday, State Sen. Brandon Beach said he intends to challenge Democrat Lucy McBath, who defeated Republican incumbent Karen Handel this past November to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional district.
Cole said he decided on the early announcement for a couple of reasons.
One reason, Cole said, is he didn’t want to be playing catchup to any other candidates and “wanted to be out front.”
Another reason, said Cole, an African-American, was Monday’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“More importantly, today being Dr. Martin Luther King Day of all days is because people are familiar with his dream, people are familiar with ‘the fierce urgency of now,’” Cole said, “but what a lot of people don’t know is what the very next line says is there is such as things as too late, there is no time for apathy or complacency. This is the time for positive action.”
Cole said his goal if chosen by voters will be to represent the will of the community.
“Real people are hurting. Real people are missing checks. Real people need health insurance,” he said. “Senior citizens who have worked all their life need to know there is stability and they need to know there is someone there fighting for them and serving them.”
Cole married his wife, Amanda, in 2014 and has two daughters: Ava, 3, and Isabella, 9 months. A self-described “Army brat,” Cole said he has lived all over the country but he and his wife consider Georgia home.
He will likely face off against other Democrats in next year’s primary, with the winner facing the Republican primary winner that December.
Woodall’s seat is considered particularly vulnerable by political observers after the Republican incumbent defeated Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux by just 419 votes out of 280,411 cast. The thin margin allowed Bourdeaux to request a recount, but she later conceded.
Cole said he and his team are excited to launch the campaign and were “really excited” about the support he had already received from the community.
“We just want to let people know that we’re here to listen, we’re here to serve and we’re here to fight for our community, and we need your help,” Cole said. “This isn’t our campaign trying to come and rescue people. It’s our campaign coming to the grassroots and going to D.C. and telling them, ‘This is what the 7th Congressional District says, this is what we look like, this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re struggling with.’
“Now it’s time to get solutions to those problems, and that’s what we’re excited about.”