Georgia’s 4th and 5th Congressional Districts are reliably Democratic.
President Donald Trump received 22 percent of the 4th District vote in 2016 and just 12 percent in the 5th District.
The absence of a Republican opponent assures 78-year-old Democrat and civil rights icon John Lewis a 17th term representing the 5th, which covers central Fulton County – including most of the city of Atlanta – and portions of DeKalb and Clayton counties. An estimated 21,000 Jews make up about 3 percent of the district’s population.
In his quest for a seventh term representing the 4th District, incumbent Democrat Hank Johnson faces Republican challenger Joe Profit, a former Atlanta Falcons football player. The 4th covers Rockdale County and sections of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Newton counties. An estimated 6,000 Jews make up less than 1 percent of its population.
Johnson, 64, holds seats on the House Judiciary Committee and the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. He previously was a criminal defense attorney, an associate magistrate judge, and served on the DeKalb County Commission.
A 69-year-old Louisiana native, Profit cites business experience as the first African-American to purchase an International House of Pancakes in Georgia and as an owner of Burger King franchises. He’s also a founder and CEO of Communications International Inc., a telecommunications company, and CEO of Multimedia Digital Broadcast Corp. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointed him to various government advisory boards.
“It was time for me to get off the sidelines and get in the game to make a difference in the 4th district. I got tired of seeing my district suffer from lack of jobs, education . . . you name it,” he told the AJT. “These people have accepted the fact their opportunities are limited. I hope to bring business experience on both side of the political aisle. I will encourage businesses to come back. My job is to make sure there is plenty of work to do. I hear people talk about bad schools. Schools are a reflection of the community.”
Johnson told the AJT that if Democrats are in control of the House, he stands to become chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. “I would use that platform to fight for net neutrality, resources to expand broadband, and for policies that will help to bridge the digital divide in our communities,” he said. “As a member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I will fight for more investments in transit and other infrastructure projects for Georgia.”
Johnson ran afoul of some in the Jewish community in 2016 when talking about the Israeli development in the West Bank. “There has been a steady [stream] … almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself – there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever-increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming,” he said.
Sharply criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, Johnson apologized, saying on Twitter, “@ADL_National Poor choice of words – apologies for offense. Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.”
Johnson remains opposed to policies of both Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Continued settlement construction inside the Green Line, Trump’s move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and the undercutting of the Palestinian Authority as the representative of the Palestinians, have severely imperiled the prospects for peace. President Trump has no rational plan to achieve peace, and Netanyahu promised Israeli voters that there would be no Palestinian State under his watch. Nonetheless, I support a two-state solution,” he said.
For his part, Profit said, “I support Israel’s and the United States’ commitment to a two-state solution. I believe this is best achieved through direct talks between the two parties. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority pulled out of talks in the spring of 2014. Lasting peace comes from two parties agreeing.”
As of June 30, Johnson reported having raised more than $367,000 in the 2018 election cycle, while Profit reported raising $9,200. Lewis reported raising more than $2.5 million.