Donna McLeod in the House well.jpg

State Rep. Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville, speaks from the well of the Georgia House of Representatives earlier this year. McLeod announced this week that she will run as a Democrat for the new 7th Congressional District seat in 2022.

A state lawmaker who was part of the blue wave of 2018 in Gwinnett is planning to run for Congress.

State Rep. Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville, announced this week that she will run for the new 7th Congressional District, challenging two sitting congresswomen for the chance to keep the seat in the hands of a Democrat. U.S. Reps. Lucy McBath and Carolyn Bourdeaux, both D-Ga., have already announced plans to run for the seat, but neither of them live in the new version of the 7th District.

McLeod does live in the district, however.

“It is my intention to run for the 7th Congressional District,” McLeod said in her initial announcement on Twitter. “I’ve lived in the district for 21 years. It will be an honor to serve (Gwinnett County).”

It remains to be seen how many candidates plan to jump into 7th Congressional District race. McBath and Bourdeaux were both backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when they were running in separate districts, Bourdeaux in the current 7th District and McBath in the current 6th District, and both gained national attention in recent congressional elections.

Congressional candidates are not required to live in the district they plan to represent, however. Bourdeaux is a resident of Suwanee but was drawn out of her district by the Georgia General Assembly while McBath lives in Marietta.

But, McLeod does have name recognition in Gwinnett County.

She nearly defeated former state Rep. Joyce Chandler in an eastern Lawrenceville and Grayson-centered district in 2016 — two years before the blue wave that saw several Democrats elected to various offices in Gwinnett. She has served in the Georgia House of Representatives since she was first elected in 2018 and has been one of its most visible members during her two terms in the legislature, speaking at county commission, school board and board of elections meetings in addition to her work at the state Capitol.

A campaign flyer for McLeod that is circulating on Facebook declares that “she knows Gwinnett County and Gwinnett County knows her.”

She was also recently named to the Georgia Association of Educators’ “Legislative Honor Roll” for her work on a proposed bill to modernize Georgia’s education funding formula.

McLeod quickly picked up an endorsement from Gwinnett County school board member Karen Watkins after she announced her plans to run for Congress.

“I have witnessed her in action as an active community member and State House Representative,” Watkins said. “She tries to answer every call, email, and address concerns within her realm.

“She educated people on the importance of civic engagement and understanding their rights. Donna McLeod has also been instrumental in ensuring the diversity in Gwinnett has been acknowledged and respected.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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