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This Day in Georgia History

November 03, 1998

Baker and Thurmond First Blacks Elected to Executive Positions

In the general election, Thurbert Baker and Mike Thurmond were elected respectively as Georgia Attorney General and Commissioner of Labor - becoming the first two African Americans in the history of Georgia to be elected to statewide office in the executive branch of state government. Thurmond also scored another first. Every black that previously held statewide office in Georgia’s executive or judicial branch initially gained that office via appointment by the Governor to fill a vacancy following the resignation of the incumbent. Thurmond, however, became the first African American in Georgia history to gain statewide elective office without first having been appointed to fill a vacancy in that office. In 2010, Baker unsuccessfully ran for governor in the Georgia Democratic Party’s primary. In the same primary, Thurmond won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson in the 2010 general election.