ATLANTA — The number of Democrats running for the U.S. Senate grew Wednesday when the mayor of a metro Atlanta city threw his hat into the ring.
Ted Terry has jumped in the race. Republican David Perdue is running for re-election next year and enters as the favorite.
Democrats haven’t won a U.S. Senate race in Georgia in 19 years.
Terry is nearly half the age and has a bare fraction of the wealth of the millionaire senator he aims to unseat.
"I’m a working class person. I’m a union member. I’ve worked as mayor, getting paid six thousand dollars a year," Terry said.
Terry is the mayor of the DeKalb County city of Clarkston. Terry joins former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson among the Democrats lining up to face Perdue. Former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff is among other Democrats still considering the race.
Tomlinson and Terry see Perdue’s fortunes falling with the tepid popularity rating of President Trump – and with the ascent of Democrats in Georgia.
In Georgia Governor races since 2006, Republican margins of victory have crept downward while Democrats' vote totals have crept upward. Last year’s razor-thin Republican victory by Brian Kemp emboldened Democrats eyeballing Perdue.
"Seasoned politicians are strategic. So they don’t run in races they know they’re destined to lose," said Emory University political scientist Andra Gillespie. "I think the results of the last few years suggest that it's not a foregone conclusion the Democrats will lose statewide office."
Perdue has spent the last three years tying himself to the president, and recently defended his handling of the long-delayed passage of a hurricane relief bill benefiting southwest Georgia.
Terry spent part of last year appearing in a reality TV show called Queer Eye. Wednesday, Terry resigned as leader of Georgia’s Sierra Club chapter to run for the Senate.
Terry has led a city with a 50 percent immigrant population. Perdue has aligned himself with Trump on immigration issues.
Yet, Terry said Perdue has issues unrelated to Trump. "When it comes to issues like climate change, we know that (Perdue) is going to completely ignore the science, going to ignore that action that can be taken to reverse global warming," Terry said.
Though Democrats may think they’re ascendant, Perdue will have the power of incumbency in November 2020. He will be the favorite whichever Democrat gets nominated to face him.