ATLANTA -- State Rep. Stacey Evans has been endorsed by a former Bernie Sanders campaign executive in her bid to become governor next year.

"I know Evans will fight to empower the folks that are often left behind in government because I've stood next to her while she has," said LaDawn Blackett Jones, Sanders former state campaign director.

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So far, Evans and another state lawmaker, Stacey Abrams, are the only Democrats who have announced their bid in the 2018 governor's race. Another Democrat, Rod Mack, has filed the paperwork to run.

On the Republican side, secretary of state Brian Kemp was the first candidate to officially announce his intentions to replace Gov. Nathan Deal. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has since held a campaign kickoff.

Republican Hunter Bradley Hill has also filed paperwork.

"I have no doubt Rep. Evans' Georgia-based message of hope for college access, hope for good paying jobs, hope for affordable health care will resonate from Ringgold to South Fulton to Savannah," Jones said.