SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A former federal prosecutor who served under President Barack Obama said Friday he plans to join the race to challenge newly sworn-in Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia.
Ed Tarver of Augusta, who served as U.S. attorney for Georgia's Southern District during Obama's two terms, is the second Democrat to confirm plans to seek the seat that three-term GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson left at the end of 2019 because of faltering health.
Democrat Matt Lieberman, son of former senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, launched his Senate campaign in October.
Tarver, 60, confirmed his intention to run in a brief email to The Associated Press on Friday, saying: "I will announce soon my plan to enter the race to fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson."
Tarver served as an Army officer and in the Georgia legislature before Obama appointed him U.S. attorney in 2009 for a region that includes Savannah and Augusta. Tarver was the first African American to become the Southern District's top federal prosecutor. He held the job until Obama left office in 2017, then returned to private law practice in Augusta.
Tarver plans to join what could become a crowded race in November. A political newcomer, Loeffler is a wealthy GOP businesswoman forced to seek election as she's getting acclimated to Washington. She was sworn in last week following her December appointment by Gov. Brian Kemp.
The special election to fill the remaining two years of Isakson's unfinished term won't have any party primaries to narrow the field, meaning voters could see multiple Democrats and Republicans on the November ballot. Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins said recently he's still considering entering the race.
Isakson's retirement further raised Georgia's profile in the 2020 elections by ensuring both of the state's U.S. Senate seats will be on the ballot. Republican Sen. David Perdue is also up for reelection this year.