The Suwanee Police Department is asking the public for help with an investigation into the death of an 18-year-old who was stabbed at an apartment complex in the city last week and three Gwinnett County inmates are being hailed as heroes for helping a deputy in distress.
These are the top stories from the past week.
Suwanee police investigating stabbing death of teen at apartment complex
The Suwanee Police Department is asking the public for help with an investigation into the death of an 18-year-old who was stabbed at an apartment complex in the city.
Police were called to the Residences at McGinnis Ferry, which is located at 4021 McGinnis Ferry Road, at about 8:50 a.m. Monday on a report of a person who had been stabbed. They found William Slade Petty dead from multiple stab wounds.
“Suwanee Police, with the assistance of the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Gwinnett County Police Department, began a search of the surrounding area for a suspect,” Suwanee police spokesman, Lt. Robert Thompson, said. “Investigators with the District Attorney’s Office assisted with the crime scene investigation.”
Police said they can’t release additional details about suspects in the death because of the nature of the investigation. Investigators are asking anyone who has information about the death, however, to call 470-360-6735.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to honor Petty’s memory and help his family. The campaign can be found at gofundme.com/f/in-honor-of-slade-petty.
“Slade was one of our boys — he grew up here and was a 2020 graduate of North Gwinnett HS,” fundraiser organizer Shelly Clark said on theGoFundMe page. “Slade leaves behind his mother Kelley who is a very talented and adored hair stylist — all who know her are friends. Kelley needs our prayers, our comfort, and a lot of support. We know our town and know our people will step up.”
Three Gwinnett County inmates help save deputy after he suffered a medical emergency
The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office is "deeply appreciative" of three Gwinnett County inmates who are credited with rescuing a deputy after he experienced a medical emergency.
According to the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office post, the inmates saw that the deputy did not seem to be feeling well as he conducted security checks in the jail's housing unit.
"Although they were locked in their cells, they kept an eye on him as he returned to his seat at the deputy desk, where he lost consciousness and fell onto the concrete floor, splitting his head open," the sheriff's office wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the inmates began pounding on their doors which led to the entire unit making noise, shouting for the deputy who was unconscious and bleeding heavily on the floor.
"Our deputy later stated that while he did not realize he'd been unconscious, he became aware of what sounded like pounding drums and could hear inmates shouting his name over and over. He immediately thought an inmate needed help and somehow managed to rise to his feet and press the control panel to open cell doors," the Sheriff's Office said.
Three inmates rushed out of their cells and rendered aid to the deputy, who had lost consciousnesses again. They then called for help via the deputy's desk phone and they also used the deputy's radio.
Help then quickly arrive. According to the Sheriff's Office, the deputy is currently recovering at home.
The Sheriff's Office posted: "These inmates came to his aid because our deputy, like most law enforcement officers, treats people with the dignity they deserve. These inmates had no obligation whatsoever to render aid to a bleeding, vulnerable deputy, but they didn't hesitate.
"Many people have strong opinions about law enforcement officers and criminals, but this incident clearly illustrates the potential goodness found in both.
"We're proud of our deputy, whose strong desire to serve gave him the strength to activate the door release when he believed an inmate needed his help. In doing so, he released his rescuers. We're proud of them, too."
Gwinnett County teachers want school district to restore work from home option
Several Gwinnett County teachers are calling on the county’s school system to give them back a choice they previously had about how to return to work, starting this week.
Gwinnett County Public Schools planned a mid-week return to work for teachers and other district staff for training ahead of the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers, however, said they were originally given a choice about whether they began the school year working from home or working from their respective schools.
Now, they said the district has made changes to the start of the school year plans that omit the work-from-home option, and educators who called the district’s leave office were told there was no work from home option.
“I understand that there’s no fully right answer, but to me, knowing that (on Wednesday), we’re expected to report back to the buildings, but be in our classrooms with the doors shut and on our computer for all trainings — that, to me, felt like there could be some flexibility in doing the same thing in the safety of my home,” elementary school teacher Ashley Newman said.
More than a dozen teachers emailed the Daily Post on Sunday and Monday about their concerns about their ability to work from home disappearing. Newman, who has been organizing her fellow teachers to contact district officials about those concerns, said about 76 teachers have copied her on emails to district officials where the text of an online petition she started is included.
At the center of the debate is one line from the district’s July 20 announcement that the district would switch to 100% digital learning. That announcement also included details about the district’s plans for beginning the school year.
The original version sent out to teachers and the media included the line, “Those who are allowed to work from home will be expected to come to the school periodically to work with other school staff and leaders.”
That sentence was missing from the copy of the announcement available on the county’s website.
“The impression that we all originally had was about the fact that there would be some accommodations made, that there would be some flexibility in the options we would have, still held to the high, high standards of Gwinnett County Public Schools, but in a position where we would have some choice,” Newman said.
Newman said she asked around to other teachers and found there are four groups that are impacted significantly by returning to work. They include: parents of children under 5; teachers with compromised immune systems; teachers who care for someone who is immunocompromised; and teachers who have children with special needs.
In Newman’s case, she has concerns about her young daughter.
District spokesman Bernard Watson said there are about six pieces of advice the school system’s human resources department is giving teachers who have concerns about returning to work in person.
“We are aware of the concerns of some of our teachers, and there are measures in place to address them,” Watson said. “If an educator has a concern, they should talk to their principal first and then to Human Resources.”
The advice human resources officials in the district are giving teachers includes:
♦ “If proximity to others is a concern, it may be that an alternative workspace could be secured. The teacher should talk to their principal. They may be allowed to work in an area of the school that is not being utilized (computer lab, gymnasium, theater, etc.).”
♦ “If a teacher’s doctor is advising that he/she quarantine, given health concerns and existing medical conditions, he/she may be eligible to receive up to 10 days of fully-paid leave, without having to use district sick leave.”
♦ “If the teacher is not being advised to quarantine, he/she can still take up to 10 days of leave without having to apply for a Leave of Absence. If the employee chooses to do this, he/she would just let his/her principal know of the dates of the absence, and enter the sick time through the emp♦ loyee portal.”
♦ “To stay out after 10 days, the employee would have to apply for a Leave of Absence. She/he would need to complete an FMLA request form, and have medical certification paperwork completed by a physician. The employee could receive up to 12 weeks of job protected leave. The leave would be paid for as long as the employee has accrued sick leave that could be applied.”
♦ “If the employee’s daycare center is closed due to COVID19, there are provisions for leave at two-thirds pay under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act.”
♦ “If the employee has school-aged kids, those children may go to school with their parents.”
Newman said that information addresses many of the issues teachers have, but she said it doesn’t quite address the underlying issue teachers have had about the change.
“Unfortunately, the biggest concern from those who have signed the petition with me is that we were told we would have the option to work from home and that option has now been extracted from the public documentation on the county’s website,” Newman said.
Gwinnett surpasses 15,500 COVID-19 cases as delays in test processing holds up results
As more people get tested for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, one thing they may have noticed lately is that getting results is not something that happens right away.
Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments District Health Director Dr. Audrey Arona said it is currently taking between five days and a full week to get results from tests formed by the district’s health departments. There have been multiple reports in recent weeks of people who were tested at pharmacies having to wait far longer.
“It’s true that there’s been such a demand for testing that, as we’ve tested more and more people, the labs are overwhelmed,” Arona said. “They’re infrastructure just hasn’t been able to handle the volume of tests that are coming in, so they are making changes and we’re working with them to change that — and that will change soon, we hope.”
As of Monday, there have been 15,534 reported cases of COVID-19 seen in Gwinnett county since March. There have also been 216 reported deaths and 1,790 reported hospitalizations in the state.
The county’s incidence rate is 1,599.56 cases for every 100,000 residents.
On Tuesday, the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments reported 122,499 tests had been adminstered by the health department in Gwinnett as of noon Monday. The county had a positivity rate of 12.9%.
Gwinnett has the second highest total number of cases, and the third highest total number of deaths, of any county in the state. It leads the state in total hospitalizations.
Due to the increased wait times for test results, Arona said the health district is asking members of the public to stay away from other people until they get their results back.
“What we’re asking the public to do is when we test you, knowing that it’s going to take a little bit to get your results, we’re asking you to isolate and quarantine in meantime so that when they get their test results, they haven’t in the meantime transmitted (the virus that causes COVID-19) to whole lot of other people,” Arona said.
Statewide, there have been 170,843 reported cases of COVID-19 in Georgia since March as well as 3,509 deaths, 17,138 hospitalizations and 3,172 ICU admissions.
The state and Gwinnett numbers for Tuesday were not available by deadline.
Fulton County leads the state in cases and deaths. It has had 16,073 reported cases and 371 deaths.
Taco Mac's new location in Lawrenceville is now open
A new dining option is now open in Lawrenceville.
Taco Mac announced opened its first new location since 2017 on Monday in the former Olde Towne Tavern and Grille site located at 835 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. It is the first time in several years that a Taco Mac has been located in the Lawrenceville area.
“We are thrilled to bring Taco Mac’s unmatched Southern hospitality, award-winning Buffalo wings and the best craft beers on draft to the Lawrenceville community,” Taco Mac CEO Harold Martin Jr. said in a statement. “Lawrenceville has been on our radar for a long time, and we are excited to get to know our new neighbors over delicious food, cold beers and exciting events.”
The grand opening festivities on Monday included a ribbon cutting as well as music, raffle drawings, food samplings and beer from Slow Pour Brewing Company, which is Taco Mac's local brewery partner for the new location.
The restaurant has 32 high-definition televisions with a state of the art audio visual system. There is also a large outdoor patio area that has 55-inch televisions as well as a tap bar that is wrapped in red quartz.
There will also be beer events and special tappings in partnership with Taco Mac's local brewery partners in the new restaurant's first few weeks.
Taco Mac also said it will follow federal, state and local safety precautions because of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.
This includes arranging dining rooms to ensure social distancing; requiring employees to wear face masks; installing sanitation stations; regularly using a peroxide disinfectant to clean all contact surfaces; thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the entire restaurant before the dining room opens; removing caddies and condiments from tables and bringing out sanitized salt and pepper shakers, and single use condiments, upon request; suspending the use of check presenters and sanitizing pens after each use; encouraging use of digital menus or otherwise handing out single-use menus; bringing out fresh, sanitized cups for each refill; and closely monitoring employees health and well-being.
Investigators: Cause of Quinn House Thrift Store fire 'undetermined,' but appliances not ruled out
Gwinnett County fire investigators are not sure what caused a fire that damaged the Quinn House Thrift Store in Lawrenceville on Thursday, but they have their suspicions.
Officially, the cause of the fire could not be determined. Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services Firefighter Lt. Donald Strother said there were some things in the building, which is located at 219 Scenic Highway, that may have been possible causes, however.
“Fire Investigators arrived and have officially ruled the fire as undetermined, but cannot rule out multiple electrical appliances in the area of origin,” he said.
Crews were called to the store at 3:49 p.m., after a neighbor noticed smoke coming from the front and back of the store. No people were in the building at the time of the fire, although a dog had been in a cage in the store.
Crews were then deployed after additional information was gathered on where the store was located. They arrived to find smoke pushing through the tree line.
“Smoke was pushing out of all sides of the two-story commercial building, with the heaviest amount at the rear and right side,” Strother said. “With the business being closed, access inside of the store needed to be forced.
“Fire crews cut an opening in the roll up door at the right side of the warehouse and began advancing a 2 ½-inch diameter hose. Visibility was poor and store contents added to the challenge of locating the fire. Firefighters began spraying water in the direction of the heat until a pathway could be identified.”
Crews also created a second entrance into the building to help attack the fire. As they were bringing the blaze under control, they located the dog and rescued it. Strother said the dog’s condition was assessed and it was determined the canine had not been harmed by the fire.
Gwinnett Master Police Officer Ashley Wilson receives Medal of Valor Award for running into burning home to search for residents
It wasn’t the flames that Gwinnett County Master Police Officer Ashley Wilson was concerned with as she ran into a burning house in Snellville last November.
It was the woman she thought might be inside the house.
Wilson was responding to a domestic violence call from the son of a couple who told 911 dispatchers that his father was threatening to kill his mother — and any police officers who tried to intervene. She arrived to find the father on fire and the mother nowhere to be seen.
As flames burned through the house, all Wilson could think about was the possibility that the mother was in the house. So, the police officer ran into the burning house to look for her.
“I didn’t want her to die,” Wilson said.
For her efforts in responding to the scene last fall, Wilson — who has been employed by the Gwinnett County Police Department for nearly five years — received the Gwinnett Chamber’s Gold Medal of Valor Award during a luncheon at the Infinite Energy Forum on Tuesday.
Wilson said there was a lot of uncertainty about what was going on at the house on Quinn Ridge on that November day. The son had called 911 to report the situation.
“At the time, we didn’t know how many people were in the house,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she parked down the street when she arrived. The first thing she wanted to do was get an assessment of the situation and try to determine what exactly was happening.
“All I was thinking was ‘Get up to the house, see what’s going on’ and ... get an idea of what was going on and what the house looked like and then wait for another unit,” Wilson said.
As she approached the house, she noticed something starting to catch on fire, although she did not know what it was at first. She then realized it was the father. He had set himself on fire, Wilson said.
“I told him, ‘Stop, Drop and Roll,’ and he just shook his head ‘No’ and sat down,” she said. “So, I just grabbed him by the arms and just pulled him out into the grass so I could roll him. When that wasn’t working, I went to look for something to smother the fire out and that’s what I found (a) rug.”
Wilson then realized the house was also on fire. At the point, they had still not determined where the mother was, and Wilson thought it was possible she could be injured inside the house.
So, into the burning home, which was filled with smoke, Wilson went to look for the mother.
“I knew there had to be somebody else in there from what was on the 911 call and you know I didn’t know what I was going to see when I got inside and as I went to up the stairs, the smoke was so thick and it was hard to breath,” Wilson said. “And, while putting him (the father) out, I had burned my hands so I just had to back out.”
Wilson said she later found out the mother had left the house before the son called 911.
“Thankfully, she was OK,” Wilson said.
Wilson had always wanted to become a public safety officer, but her father did not want her to join the Thin Blue Line right away after graduating from high school.
In a video played during the Valor Awards luncheon on Tuesday, Wilson recounted the stipulations her parents put on her before they would give their blessing to become a police officer.
“My parents were really adamant about going to college and having a backup degree and then working in my field from my degree for at least two years,” Wilson said. “And, almost to the day of my two year mark, I told my dad ‘I’m going to be a police officer,’ and they gave me their blessing.”
Wilson said the actions this year’s Valor Award recipients and nominees were recognized for showing the commitment public safety officers have to serving the Gwinnett County community.
One example is Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services Driver Engineer Stanley Bowers, who received the Silver Medal of Valor Award. He was recognized for going into swift moving waters to rescue a swimmer.
“I think those who chose to serve really have the guardianship mentality of our community — that we’re here as guardians to protect our community,” Wilson said. “Whether that means running into dangerous situations or pulling people out of a raging river, that’s really where our heart is.”
Police identify burned body found near Duluth
Gwinnett police have identified a burned body that was found in a wooded area off Satellite Boulevard in unincorporated Duluth, and released the last known photos of the victim in an attempt to figure out what happened to him.
Police said the victim was Duluth resident Raul Zapata-Garcia, 47. There have not been a lot of details about how Zapata-Garcia died, but investigators have determined he was shot at least once in addition to his body being burned.
Zapata-Garcia’s body was found on a wooded trail near the intersection of Satellite boulevard and West Liddell Road on July 20.
Surveillance camera footage from a convenience store was released by police on Monday to help spur any new leads on what happened to Zapata-Garcia. Police did not specify where the convenience store was located.
Anyone who has information about the case is asked to call detectives at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477. They can also visit www.stopcrimeATL.com. Crime Stoppers allows tipsters to remain anonymous and there is a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case.
Tipsters are asked to reference case No. 20-053547.
Lawrenceville officials looking forward to new opportunities with new amphitheater
The Lawrenceville Lawn has been the site of big concerts for years, but the city has never actually had a permanent stage for musicians and other performers to perform on.
While community events have been shut down in Lawrenceville since the early spring because of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, the city has been busy building a $1.5 million permanent amphitheater stage at the Lawrenceville Lawn. Construction on the venue began in the spring.
Although the stage is still a skeleton at this point, City Manager Chuck Warbington said it shouldn’t be too much longer before the performing venue will be ready to host concerts and other performances.
“We hope to have the amphitheater ready to open, weather-pending, Sept. 11,” Warbington said.
The 40-foot by 60-foot stage will mark a major change for events at the Lawrenceville Lawn. For starters, every event that has been hosted there in the past has required the construction, and later dismantling, of a temporary stage.
That will no longer be necessary.
“Having a permanent stage there is a major operational savings for us,” Warbington said.
The city manager also said the stage structure includes additional permanent bathrooms. Warbington said that means the city will not have to bring in port-o-potties for smaller scale events, such as movies on the lawn — although temporary bathrooms will still be needed for larger events.
It will also have space where city workers can store equipment such as barriers for events. Those pieces of equipment have previously been stored at the city’s Public Works Facility on West Pike Street.
“From an operational standpoint, it’s going to save the city a substantial amount of operational support and money,” Warbington said.
Another big change the permanent stage will bring in terms of events held on the Lawrenceville Lawn is who will able to perform there. When the new amphitheater is finished this fall, the city will have the ability to do more with the events held on the lawn.
“This permanent stage is also one of the largest outdoor stages, definitely in Gwinnett, but possibly in the metro Atlanta area,” Warbington said. “So, it’s a larger stage (than the temporary one was) and you can have larger acts, maybe a large orchestra and things like that.”
On top of that, a third way in which it will change the Lawrenceville Lawn is that there will be a smaller stage on its backside, facing the city’s SouthLawn development.
“There’s a backside that will have events, if you want to have an acoustical event or a reading so we made it versatile where you have a covered area so like SouthLawn could actually have an event there — a real small event that actually would be a benefit to that development as well,” Warbington said.
That side of the amphitheater will also have about 100 parking spaces for the Lawrenceville Lawn and retail shops and restaurants located along Clayton Street in the SouthLawn development.
“You’ll have direct access to the playground now from that side, so it’s a big improvement to the overall park,” Warbington said.
But, there is a catch where the amphitheater is concerned. Although the new outdoor stage will be ready to host events in September, whether it can actually do so remains to be seen.
And residents can blame an all too familiar reason for the uncertainty: COVID-19.
The city has been preparing for a grand opening celebration for the amphitheater, with fireworks and a concert by The Ultimate King of Pop Experience – Michael Jackson Tribute, on Sept. 11. Subsequent concerts this fall are expected to include Rumours — The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute on Sept. 25 and Electric Avenue — The 80’s MTV Experience on Oct. 9.
Whether any of those events can happen, however, remains to be seen.
“We’re still having discussions about events and even though we announced we’re going to have events in August, September, we’re evaluating it on a weekly basis and, you know, it may be pushed off again,” Warbington said. “Regardless, the amphitheater will be open.”
New poll says Gwinnett leading Georgia swing counties that are expected to go to Biden in presidential race
Gwinnett County could play a key role among swing counties in Georgia during this fall’s presidential election, according to a new poll from Monmouth University.
The poll shows former Vice-President Joe Biden has a 58% to 38% lead over President Donald Trump in a group of 14 swing counties, “led by the large Atlanta suburbs of Cobb and Gwinnett.” Officials who worked on the poll said they do not provide specific poll numbers for Gwinnett because its sample size was too small, however.
Statewide, Biden and Trump were neck and neck at 47% apiece among registered voters who participated in the poll.
“There is a lot of parity between the two candidates. Trump has a lock on his base but Biden is performing much better than Clinton did in key swing areas,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
A strong showing by Biden at the top of the November ballot raises questions about how it could impact down ballot raises, particularly those for local officials, such as county commission chairman, two commission district and two school board seats, district attorney, sheriff and tax commissioner among others.
“What the top of the ticket does, especially in presidential elections, is it gets people to go to the polls who don’t often vote in special elections or may even sit out a mid-term election when we elect our governor,” University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock said. “The attention given to the presidential contest bring those marginally interested voters to the polls. So they go to the polls and they want to vote for their candidate who’s running for president.
“Once they get there, they see all those other contests with names they don’t recognize so what do they do? They vote by party identification.”
Hillary Clinton narrowly carried Gwinnett in the 2016 presidential election, the first time in decades that a Democratic nominee for president had carried the longtime Republican stronghold.
In the 2018 general election, where Democrats had a strong showing in Gwinnett and flipped several seats — including some that surprised even Democratic Party observers — the party’s gubernatorial nominee, Stacey Abrams carried the county with 56.5% of the votes cast in the governor’s election.
Bullock said he now considers Gwinnett to be a “Robin’s Egg Blue” county rather than the red county it had been since the 1980’s, or the purple county it had been portrayed as in recent elections.
“What you’re witnessing in Gwinnett is a pattern similar to what was taking place 30 years ago,” Bullock said. “Except 30 years ago, it was Democrats gradually losing control as Republicans were taking more and more of the county. Now, it’s a reversal of the role of the party. It’s Republicans whose success has peaked and they’re on the decline.”
Gwinnett County Democratic Party Chairwoman Bianca Keaton said she believes there will be a trickle up effect on the ballot, with enthusiasm about local Democratic candidates, driving up support for top of the ticket Democrats rather than the other way around.
“I think our down ballot candidates, and the emphasis that we place on them, is actually going to have an upward impact on the top of the ticket,” Keaton said.
Gwinnett County Republican Party Chairman Edward Muldrow is not as sure a trickle-up effect exists, however.
“That’s what they would like it to be, but here’s the deal, the state that we’re in right now with everything that’s going on around the country, people don’t have an appetite for the craziness for the extremists — especially in Gwinnett County,” Muldrow said.
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said he did believe lower races could help generate support for candidates higher up on the ballot — although he also said that he believes that a presidential contest will draw voters who may not even vote in a gubernatorial race. Collins addressed the Gwinnett GOP at its monthly breakfast on Saturday.
“These local races matter,” Collins said after the breakfast. “What most people realize is that their county commissions, their sheriffs, their boards of education, those are the folks that they see every day so to speak so I do believe a lot of times your local races do generate enthusiasm.”
The county’s GOP chairman said this election will be about where Gwinnettians has been under Republican leadership — 2018 was the first time since the early 1980’s that Democrats had been elected to county offices — and where they want to see it go in the future.
That entails looking at the quality of Gwinnett’s schools, the safety of the community and other quality of life issues, he said. If Democrats think the quality of life in the county is bad, Muldrow said, then “they need to own that.”
“This is the time now where we have to prove what we’re made of in Gwinnett County,” Muldrow said. “Are we leaning towards wanting to look like DeKalb County or are we leaning toward wanting to continue to grow a successful Gwinnett County? We have to answer that question on the third of November.”
One factor that Keaton said is helping generate enthusiasm for local Democrats who will be on the November ballot is that several of them are from minority groups.
“I would be dishonest if I didn’t say there’s still some rumblings that people have about nominees and the uncertainty and wanting candidates of color, and particularly with this being a very diverse county.
“We don’t necessarily have that sort of diversity on our federal ticket, especially if you live in the (7th Congressional District). All of the federal candidates are white save the (Sen. Kelly Loeffler) seat, which we can’t really claim one or the other because it’s a jungle field of 21 people.”
More locally, however, there are several candidates of color running for local offices. Officially, there is a Democratic Party primary runoff between Nicole Love Hendrickson, who is African-American, and Lee Thompson, who is white, but Thompson has suspended his campaign and is encouraging his supporters to vote for Hendrickson, making her the party’s de facto nominee.
“When we look at the top of our local ticket, we’ve got Nicole Love Hendrickson at the top of it and I think she’s a very attractive candidate for a number of reasons and I believe she has an appeal towards a number of different constituencies as well,” Keaton said.
State legislative races will be a key area to watch in the general election. That’s because the Georgia General Assembly will be dealing with redistricting next year. If Democrats can flip at least one chamber of the legislature, they will have a seat at the redistricting table.
Bullock said there are some legislative races in Gwinnett that could be considered vulnerable.
“Several of those Gwinnett County seats, I know Chuck Efstration’s (state house seat) is one, are very marginal,” Bullock said. “They were marginal two years ago and with the Democratic numbers increasing, it’s going to be harder for Republicans to hold onto seats there in the legislature or the county commission or the school board.”
Keaton is confident about Biden’s chances in Gwinnett — even going so far as saying “we know Biden is going to win Gwinnett” — but she also said the amount by which he wins the county could have ramifications across the state.
Keaton pointed to a July 11 tweet by New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin, who said it might be possible for Biden to win Georgia if he can capture 60% of the vote in Gwinnett and pick up even a little bit of support in rural areas.
It’s a notion Bullock concurred with.
“Gwinnett has had this pretty heavy incline in Democratic voting percentages,” Keaton said. “I mean, it was historic turnout for Abrams, 56.6%, and I’m hoping the trend for increased Democratic performance in presidential years holds and then we’ll see that number shoot up.
“And, hopefully, we’ll get that 60%.”
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