Democrat Wilson to run for Georgia insurance commissioner

ATLANTA — A Democratic state House member announced on Wednesday that he’s running for Georgia insurance commissioner, aiming to defeat appointed Republican incumbent John King.

Rep. Matthew Wilson of Brookhaven said he will advocate for lower insurance rates and to fully expand the state-federal Medicaid health insurance program if elected.

The 37-year-old lawyer and Griffin native defeated a Republican incumbent to win election to the state House in 2018. Wilson was reelected in 2020 in a district covering parts of DeKalb and Fulton counties.

Wilson argues that a more aggressive regulator could reduce the cost of insurance in the state, particularly auto insurance. He argues that prior commissioners have too often been “doing the insurance companies’ bidding.

“The whole purpose of this role is to serve Georgia consumers,” Wilson said in a phone interview, arguing Republican commissioners have not challenged auto insurance increases.

If elected, Wilson would be the first openly gay statewide officer in Georgia history. His announcement video refers to that status, including pictures of Wilson and his fiance and Wilson walking on a rainbow crosswalk.

“I want people to know that about me because I want them to know about me,” Wilson said.

King was Doraville police chief when Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him in 2019 to succeed indicted commissioner John Beck. King is Georgia’s first Hispanic statewide officeholder. The former Army National Guard general touts cutting expenses, combating fraud and restoring trust in the department. King says he would work in the future to lower healthcare costs and insurance rates.