Democratic politician Jason Carter, 38, is now the front-runner for the governorship of the traditionally conservative state of Georgia. Former congressman and now Governor Nathan Deal has been serving in that post since 2011, but a recent poll shows his approval rating at a dismal 34 percent.
Here’s what you need to know about the rookie upstart that could change politics in Georgia:
1. He’s Jimmy Carter’s Grandson
Jason Carter was born in 1975 to Jack Carter, the eldest child of President Jimmy Carter. Jason was only 2 years old when his grandfather took office in 1977. Formerly, Jimmy had served as the governor of Georgia between 1971 and 1975. Above you can watch a CNN report on Jason and his legacy as a ninth-generation Georgian.
2. He Served in the Peace Corps in Africa
Jason Carter is passionate about conditions in Africa after his time in the Peace Corps. Immediately after graduating from Duke University in 1997, Carter spent two years in a town called Lochiel, on the border between Swaziland and South Africa. While he was there he learned Zulu and Siswati. You can read an interview about his experiences in South Africa here.
The young politician-to-be wrote a book about his experiences there called “Power Lines” after the power lines that passed over the village but did not provide it with electricity.
3. He’s a Member of the State Senate
In a May 2010 special election, Carter won a seat in the Georgia state Senate representing the 42nd district, which contains most of DeKalb county, including parts of Decatur and Atlanta.
Professionally, Carter has served as a business litigator for Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP. He graduated with his law degree summa cum laude from the University of Georgia.
4. He’s Pro-Transparency, Pro-Public Education & Pro-Gun
In the state senate, Carter served on a number of committees including Judiciary, Science and Technology, Special Judiciary, Transportation, and Urban Affairs.
In his voting record, as well as in interviews, Carter has made clear his stances on the issues. He has consistently voted for 2nd Amendment rights, earning him an endorsement by the NRA, and recently voted for the bill in Georgia that would allow guns in places like bars and churches.
Carter has also gone on record as a pro-choice advocate, voting against a bill that would prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans.
5. He’s Ahead in the Polls
Nathan Deal, Georgia’s conservative governor, is becoming increasingly unpopular as poll numbers have his approval rating down as low as 34 percent. Deal, the governor of Georgia since 2011, is trailing behind Carter in the polls by around 4 percent. Insider Advantage as the spread at around 41 percent for Carter, and 38 percent of Deal.