University of Georgia philosophy professor Richard Winfield announced his campaign for U.S. Senate on Jan. 3 in social media posts.
The progressive Democrat said he’s looking forward to November as an election that could change the political leadership in the nation and in Georgia, and he hopes to be a part of the shift.
“The tide is now turning where Democrats can finally win,” Winfield told a group of people protesting a potential war in Iran on Jan. 4.
Winfield is running in the special election for former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat. Isakson resigned at the end of 2019 due to health issues. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Republican businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to fill the seat until a November special election. The winner of that election will complete the two years remaining in Isakson’s term.
Republican Sen. David Perdue’s seat is also up for election this year, and at least four Democrats will challenge him, creating a possibility that both Senate seats could flip to blue.
Winfield said the Georgia Senate race will be a defining election for national politics in 2020. Winfield is running on a broad social rights agenda with his largest emphasis being a federal job guarantee.
“I want to show the public how we can’t really have the Green New Deal we need unless we ensure that everyone whose livelihood may be jeopardized by shutting down fossil fuel production and consumption will have a guaranteed job with fair wages waiting for them,” Winfield said.
This platform echoes his unsuccessful campaign for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District in 2018. Winfield ran with a progressive agenda but lost the Democratic primary to Tabitha Johnson-Green, garnering about 25 percent of the votes in the district.
He said he learned from his Congressional campaign that voters do not have many opportunities to find out in-depth information about the candidates.
“I’m hoping this Senate race, unlike the race for the House, I’m going to have much more free statewide — and ultimately national — press attention,” Winfield said. “There will be opportunities for real debates on the issues. Once that happens, I’ll be able to muster the resources to get out to the public.”
Winfield plans to spend this first month building up his campaign resources, recruiting staff and volunteers, and collecting donations through Act Blue.
Winfield is a tenured philosophy professor at UGA with a doctorate degree from Yale University. He started his position at UGA in 1982. He lives in Athens with his wife Sujata Winfield, and the two often attend activist demonstrations in the city, such as the Jan. 4 protest against violence in Iran at the Arch.
Per state law, Winfield will have to go on unpaid leave from his university position until his campaign is over.