159 Georgia Together
Learn. Resist. Act.

Senate Races

Senate District 17

senate district 17.png


  • County: Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties
  • Metro Area/Region:  Southeast Atlanta area
  • Cities/Towns/Areas:  Covington, Hampton, Locust Grove, Mansfield, McDonough, Oxford, Social Circle, Stockbridge and Newborn


  • Population: 174,075
  • Median Household Income: $59,400
  • Education:
    • Completed High School 57.2%
    • Completed College/Beyond 32.2%
  • Race:
    • White 62.2%
    • Black 30%
    • Hispanic 4.2%
    • Asian 1.2%


  • Congressional District(s): GA-3, GA-4, GA-10 and GA-13
  • GA House Districts: HD-73, HD-90, HD-91, HD-109, HD-110, HD-111, HD-112, HD-113, HD-130


2016 Clinton 40.82% Trump 56.50% Margin=R+15.7%
2012 Obama 38.5% Romney 60.50% Margin=R+22%

District Election Results

Year Candidate Percentage Vote Total
2017 Special Election Brian Strickland (R)
62% 5,003
Phyllis Hatcher (D)
34.4% 2,774
Ed Toney (R)
2.5% 198
Nelva Lee (R)
1.2% 97
2016 Rick Jeffares (R)
59.65% 48,444
Bill Blackmon (D)
40.35 32,772
2014 Rick Jeffares (R)
N/A/td> N/A
2012 Rick Jeffares (R)
62.8% 47,069
Nelva Lee (D)
37.2 27,929



The Senate seat was left vacant after the resignation of Rick Jeffares (R) on December 1, 2017. Jeffares resigned from the state Senate in order to focus on his campaign for lieutenant governor.

Brian Strickland (R) was  HD 111 Rep since 2013; he resigned to run for and subsequently won the Senate seat in SD 17.  When Strickland was still Representative of HD 111, his district was gerrymandered to include fewer minority voters and more white voters.  The gerrymandering was the object of a lawsuit.

Strickland is seen as a rising star within the Republican party of Georgia, and was appointed as the Governor's floor leader for the 2018 General Assembly.  He is a lawyer in McDonough.

Nelva Lee (R) is also running in this race.  She ran for this seat in 2012 as a Democrat but has since become a Republican (based on, as she says, her Christian moral values). She is a first generation immigrant, has many families members who’ve served in the military. Currently owns an online medical interpreting school.

In the Special Election in January of 2018, Democrat Phyllis Hatcher (D) of Conyers was Strickland's closest competition, with 34.28 percent, or 2,686 votes.  Of the 133,001 registered voters in Senate District 17, only 9,060 cast ballots in the special election (6.82 percent of the voters).  Hatcher is opposing Strickland again in the general election of 2018.

Phyllis Hatcher is pastor in the United Methodist Church and founded Phyllis Hatcher Ministries, a coalition of care agencies originally operating in Henry County that has since expanded. Agencies involved include United Way, ACFB, We Care Ministries, and McDonough Housing Authority.