Democrat Ed Tarver is one of nearly 20 candidates hoping to fill the unexpired term of U. S. Senator Johnny Isakson. And as the November 3rd jungle primary of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents quickly approaches, Tarver hopes his experience and integrity will carry him into what is sure to be a runoff between the top two candidates.
“I feel like I bring more experience into this election than any other candidate who will be on the ballot,” said Tarver, in an exclusive interview with InsiderAdvantage Wednesday morning. “I bring my military experience where I led a diverse group that looked to me for leadership in a number of situations. Add to that my experience in the federal courts, my experience as a State Senator and my appointment as a United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, I just feel like I bring a lot to the table.”
Tarver is a former U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer and a graduate of Augusta University and the University of Georgia School of Law. He says he was fortunate to be selected as a law clerk for a Chief Judge in the U.S. District Court before being hired by one of the oldest and largest law firms in Augusta. He later became a partner in the firm and says he now brings “unparalleled expertise in government relations, civil rights, and compliance. I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best lawyers in this state.”
Tarver served in the Georgia Senate for three terms, saying that he “championed bipartisan policies supporting veterans, consumers, and individuals with disabilities, and sponsoring or co-sponsoring over 70 pieces of legislation.”
“I was able to accomplish a lot for Georgians by working on both sides of the aisle,” he said.
In 2009, he was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia by President Barack Obama, becoming the first African American in that role. He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He served in the role throughout both Obama terms.
“It was a tremendous opportunity, and I gained so much knowledge and experience in this role,” he said.
Tarver considered running against Isakson in the last election, but said after meeting with a number of trusted advisors on the state and national level, he decided the time wasn’t right. However, when Isakson announced his retirement, Tarver felt called to throw his hat in the ring.
“I was looking at where the country was headed, and felt called to enter the race,” Tarver said.
Tarver has identified four issues that he hopes to focus on: agriculture and the impact climate change has on the state’s agricultural industry; healthcare and ensuring that all Georgians have access to quality healthcare regardless of their ability to pay; quality education in a safe environment; and supporting small business and building the state’s economy. However, his number one priority if elected would be “capitalizing on dialogues regarding social injustice in the state and country.”
“I am not advocating defunding the police. I would say my views are more in line with former Governor Nathan Deal on criminal reform through accountability courts that allow treatment over incarceration. It has to do more with moving this country forward and not in defunding the police.”
Tarver said he is not a fan of the jungle primary format of the November 3 election. “It makes it more difficult for those of us who don’t have personal wealth or celebrity status as we work to gain name recognition,” said Tarver. “And then you add in the situation with COVID. It has definitely been a challenge.”
Tarver’s top opponent on the Democratic side is Rev. Raphael, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005. “I am a Christian and a person of faith. But he (Warnock) and I have had a lot of different experiences in our lives. I was a State Senator, I was appointed by the President as an U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, and I was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. I feel like there are so many things I have done that he hasn’t, and I think these speak volumes on my ability to lead and represent Georgia on the federal level. I hope people will consider my experience.”
Republican Kelly Loeffler currently holds the seat after being appointed by Governor Brian Kemp after the retirement of Isakson. She and Georgia Congressman Doug Collins have been leading the early polls.