Political Insider

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Former Democratic state rep. chastised for denouncing gay candidate

A young Albany Democrat’s bid for a seat on a county party committee has stirred some feelings many Democrats likely hoped were extinct on their side of the aisle.

Andrew Niquette, 20, sought a seat on the Dougherty County Democratic Party executive committee. His declaration as a candidate brought a glowing response from state Democratic Party Executive Director Rebecca DeHart.

But not everyone was as enthused. Former state Rep. John White, D-Albany, the first African-American from that city to serve in the Legislature, took issue with the fact Niquette is gay. Here’s more, from the Albany Herald:

(White) fired off an email to DeHart and two others in response to Niquette’s plan. He also included a photo of Niquette kissing his partner.

“Rebecca, is this what you are thrilled about? I can’t say ‘I am thrilled about all you are doing,’” White wrote. “Andrew Niquette can do his Whatever in Florida. I have ZERO Tolerance for this lifestyle.”

White bolded the sentence for emphasis.

An hour later, Niquette fired back.

“Such a shame that a reputable former Democratic Representative who was an advocate for Civil Rights has the audacity to judge me for whom I choose to love,” Niquette wrote. “I do hope that you get together with the 21st Century, Rep. White, and you can be sure that it will be known of your homophobia.”

The newspaper reported that DeHart responded by further praising Niquette, who was a state delegate to the Democratic National Convention this summer.

"I have absolutely zero tolerance for hateful emails like the one you just have sent me. I am a Democrat. I believe in equality with every single bone in my being and I will not be silent — ever — should I ever be in receipt of an email such as this.”

Niquette reached out to us over the weekend with a touch of optimism.

"The amazing thing is that change is now starting to occur here," he said. "And it gives people hope that even brighter things are to come."


Two more little-known candidates have joined the increasingly crowded race for Rep. Tom Price's seat.

Donnie Bolena announced on social media he was running as an unapologetic hard-right conservative for the Republican-leaning north Atlanta district. In his bio, he explains his opposition to the separation of church and state and a plea to Democrats to quit acting like "whiny babies."

And Joseph Pond, a union plumber from Marietta, is seeking office as an independent. "As a free thinking American, I am concerned about the dangers of partisan politics, as politicians are more concerned about power than the fate of the people," he wrote in his announcement.

Three Democrats - including two former state lawmakers - are already in the race. So is Republican state Sen. Judson Hill, a Marietta attorney. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel, state Sen. Brandon Beach, former state Sen. Dan Moody and state Rep. Chuck Martin are also among the GOPers eyeing a bid.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Taylor Bennett, a Democrat who lost a razor-thin battle for re-election last month, has ruled himself out of the contest. He said in a text message over the weekend he was not interested in running. Look for him to prepare for a rematch against Republican Meagan Hanson in two years.


You know that state Sen. Vincent Fort remains a stalwart Bernie Sanders supporter. The Atlanta Democrat and mayoral candidate is also embracing another progressive for higher office.

He was among a handful of Georgia Democrats to back Rep. Keith Ellison during a quiet trip to Atlanta on Friday to build support for his bid for Democratic National Committee chair.

Ellison also journeyed to Dublin to meet with Democratic Party of Georgia chair DuBose Porter, where they had a lengthy discussion on the race for DNC leader and the party's overall health.


Amid the political volleying surrounding the Department of Homeland Security’s alleged hack of Georgia’s election databases, West Virginia said a similar finding on its system wasn’t in the same vein.

A press release from West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat, said that unlike Georgia, West Virginia granted DHS permission to do a scan ahead of the election:

“We can only speak about the DHS IP address visits here in West Virginia, but, again, those have been investigated and were not malicious. Any reports to the contrary are simply unfounded and false.”

Tennant's Kentucky counterpart also said the state found no signs of malicious behavior after its election website was contacted by a DHS computer. Read the latest from the AJC's Aaron Gould Sheinin here.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.