Elizabeth “Liz” Johnson, the Bulloch County resident who in 2014 received more than 1 million votes statewide as the Democratic Party’s nominee for Georgia insurance commissioner, qualified last week to run for Congress in the 12th District.
Johnson, a now-retired insurance professional, is one of two Democrats who signed up to seek their party’s 12th District congressional nomination. The other is Dan Steiner, a retired attorney from Augusta. The winner of the May 19 Democratic primary will go on to challenge the Republican incumbent, Rep. Rick Allen, also of Augusta, in the Nov. 3 general election.
Johnson announced her candidacy last October at the Bulloch County Democratic Party Gala. She has since traveled throughout the 12th District, talking with residents about issues such as raising the minimum wage and “ensuring quality affordable healthcare for everyone,” according to a campaign press release.
“I am running for families like my own,” Johnson said, “hard-working men and women who want to support their families, own a home, access affordable, quality healthcare and education and enjoy a secure retirement.”
She would emphasize support for criminal justice reforms and lowering the costs of educational opportunities for working families, as well as affordable healthcare, her campaign press release asserted.
“At the end of the day, we all want the same things in life: to earn a living wage, to be safe in our homes and our communities, and to take care of our loved ones,” Johnson said. “How do we do that? Together. It’s when we come together, and plan together, and work together that we can create the community we want to live in.”
Family and career
Born at Miami Beach, Fla., she was raised by her grandmother, who Johnson says instilled in her the importance of education and hard work.
Her 38-year insurance career included twice owning a small independent agency, as well as working for other agencies. She was secretary for Florida’s first specialty insurance agents association.
Johnson has been a Bulloch County resident since she moved here with the youngest of her four children in 1995. She and her husband, retired law enforcement officer Donald Johnson, have been married more than 20 years and together they have seven adult children, 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Over the years she has volunteered with many community causes and organizations including the organization known as CASA for court-appointed special advocates for children, the Statesboro Regional Library Board, Habitat for Humanity, the Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center advisory committee, the Statesboro Noon Lions Club, the Coalition for Minority Education and the Marvin Pittman PTO. Since retiring from the insurance industry she has launched some empowerment initiatives for women, including Women Win Elections and Queendom Builders.
Johnson has served as grand marshal of the Bulloch County Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade and was presented with the Bulloch County NAACP President’s Award.
She has been active in the Democratic Party of Georgia for more than 20 years, serving in county, district and state party leadership roles and as a Democratic National Committee delegate.
In earlier years, Johnson ran unsuccessfully for Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, probate judge, clerk of court and state representative.
Her 2014 bid for state insurance commissioner made her one of the first women of color to win a major party nomination for statewide office. She received almost 70% of the vote over another Democratic candidate in the May 2014 primary.
That November she received 1,050,883 votes, or 41.7% of all votes in the race statewide, according to election results archived on the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office website. But then-Insurance Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens, a Republican, won with 1,382,551 votes, or 54.87%. An independent candidate received 3.43% of the votes.
Allen, long-declared as a candidate for re-election, formally qualified last week in Atlanta. He will face no opposition in the Republican primary.