ATLANTA – A black state official from a heavily black and Democrat county in Georgia announced her move from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

Rep. Mesha Mainor of District 56 in Atlanta made the announcement July 11 outside the state Capitol.

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me when it embraced leftism and lawlessness and put the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of Americans,” she said. “I don’t have to apologize for anything.”

Mainor, first elected to the seat in 2020, shocked Democrats with multiple votes during the 2023 legislative session.

She controversially voted with the Republican majority for the “School Voucher Act,” which would have given parents up to $6,500 for education-related expenses and non-public schools.

“I support school choice, parental rights and opportunities for students to thrive, especially those who are marginalized and in a failing school,” Mainor said in a video she posted to social media in May. “Democrats in the Capitol took a hard line and demanded that all Democrats vote against children and for the teachers’ union. I voted yes for the parents and yes for the children. Not for failing schools.”

While the school voucher bill failed to pass either house by the end of the legislative session, Mainor also voted to move forward with the bill creating the Oversight Commission for District Attorneys.

The commission — which is appointed through senior positions currently held by Republicans — has the power to discipline, fire, and arrange for their involuntary retirements for appointed or elected district attorneys and attorneys general.

Before the vote, Mainor said the bill draws attention to a “neglected issue” of prosecutors abusing their office to help friends and claiming they don’t have the time or resources to hear specific crimes or cases.

“Their power is traumatic when used inappropriately and carelessly,” she said.

Democrats opposed the bill, claiming it would be used to unfairly target Democratic district attorneys in the state and limit their ability to exercise prosecutorial discretion.

In her May video, Mainor claimed some Democrats would offer checks for $1,000 to anyone who would run against them.

“Every election year I listen to Black Lives Matter, but do they?” Mainor said. “I see that every other minority has priority, except black children who live in poverty and cannot read.”

Mainor said on Twitter, “I will NEVER apologize for being a black woman with a mind of my own.”

Newly elected Georgia Republican Party leader Josh McKoon welcomed Mainor to the GOP following her announcement. Mainor’s followers on Twitter grew exponentially within 24 hours of her announcement, from well under 10,000 followers to almost 30,000.

“We are pleased to welcome Rep. Mainor to the Georgia Republican Party and look forward to working with her to advocate for hard-working Georgians,” said McKoon. “Our party is committed to empowering parents to be committed to providing their children with the best possible education so that every Georgian can feel safe at home, at work and at school. and having the economic opportunity to build a better life.”

News of Mainor’s move was greeted positively by other members of the Georgia GOP, which saw division by former President Donald Trump’s failed 2020 re-election bid.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was booed during his speech at the state’s GOP convention last year. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was reprimanded for his famously refusing to heed pressure from Trump to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results, confirming Trump’s defeat of President Joe Biden by about 10 percent by 12,000 votes.

Vernon Jones, a black man, campaigned with Trump’s support for governor against Kemp in 2022; Most notably, he is also a former Georgia Democrat-turned-Republican.