Georgia’s Competitive Districts: SD-17

As a reminder, this is a district breakdown in a series of posts on the competitiveness of Georgia legislative districts. For a review of the methodology and background information, please start here:

District Data

Demographics and Registration


Rick Jeffares — Republican (Incumbent)



As of September 30th filing:

Total raised — $343,544.50

Raised in this period — $55,830.01

Total spent — $262,570..90

Spent in this period — $35,724.00

Cash on hand — $80,973.60


  • First elected to SD-17 in 2010
  • Previously served as City Manager of Locust Grove (2001–2008) and on the Henry County Board of Commissioners (2008–2010)
  • Chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee
  • Owner of J&T Environmental Services

Bill Blackmon — Democrat



As of September 30th filing:

Total raised — $1,254.99

Raised in this period — $1,155.00

Total spent — $1,200.63

Spent in this period — $1,200.63

Cash on hand — $54.36


  • Ran for HD-111 in 2012
  • Served in the Army
  • Received an NAACP “Man of Influence” award


There is a reason this district was on my Category 2 list. There is nothing in the favor of the Democrats in SD-17 right now. Much like in other districts, the demographics have shifted in the favor of the Democrats, but the projected numbers still have a 11 point deficit. Obviously the fundraising is an issue as well with an incumbent who has raised almost $350,000.

This district is a prime example of the uncompetitive nature of Georgia’s legislative districts, but we have to win the elections in order to improve the current structures. I think this district and other similar districts will be a reach in 2018, but we have to lay the groundwork for a chance in 2020. Strong candidates with strong support will be able to make progress in districts like this. A senate majority will be tough, but this is a potential target. We’ll have to reevaluate after the election to see where the shifts are occurring.

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