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Daniel Blackman vying to become Georgia Democratic Party chair
Daniel-and-Jeanelle-Blackman WEB
Daniel and Jeanelle Blackman. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

A former Forsyth County candidate is vying for the top position of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Forsyth County resident Daniel Blackman has announced his candidacy for chairman of the state party, replacing current chair Dubose Porter.

Blackman previously ran unsuccessfully against state Sen. Michael Williams for the District 27 seat in 2016 and said growing up in Columbus, going to college in Atlanta and settling in Forsyth County gave him a background in issues impacting the whole state.

“I think having three different perspectives – having a north Georgia-, south Georgia- and Atlanta-centric perspective – gave me a pretty unique observation of the state,” Blackman said. “Being involved politically over the last two election cycles and having run in Forsyth County, it just gave me a sense of urgency as a responsibility for Democrats around the state to reach out and have a stronger strategy and do a much better job of really connecting each part of Georgia.”

Blackman said he was motivated to run for the seat after this year’s midterm election and wanted to see more candidate recruitment outside the metro area.

He cited Republican Nick Ayers, a 36-year-old Cobb County resident who is chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence.

“I’m not a big fan of some of the ideas and some of the policies he shares,” Blackman said. “But when you look at a guy like Nick Ayers, who is fairly young and started off doing things in the [Republican Party] earlier, I don’t think there are too many people I can point to in the [Democratic Party], myself included, that we’ve cultivated.”

Blackman said he also wants to focus on listening to needs throughout the state and gearing up for the election in 2020.

“When folks think of Georgia, I want them to think of Georgia as a competitive state,” he said. “I don’t want them to think of Georgia as just being a Republican stronghold. I think these past elections, even though we didn’t win statewide … my hope is that as presidential nominees decide that they want to throw their names in the hat and start traveling around the country, when they stop in Georgia, I want to make sure they don’t just stop in metro-Atlanta.

“We have to get them out to Macon and Savannah and Forsyth County, as many places around the state as possible to motivate our base.”

He said his previous experience running in Forsyth County – where he said he was the first African-American to ever run for the seat and the first Democrat in two decades – would benefit his run for the seat.

To become the next chair, Blackman will need to be selected by officials from the party’s state committee.

Blackman is Democratic chairman of Georgia’s 7th Congressional District and has served as state political director for Bernie Sanders for President. He is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University.