DeKalb County School District
Michael L. “Mike” Thurmond (born January 5, 1953) is the former Commissioner of Labor for the state of Georgia and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for United States Senate in 2010.
Born in rural Clarke County and raised in poverty as a sharecropper’s son in Oconee County, Thurmond graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Paine College in 1975 and later earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
In 1986, he became the first African-American elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Clarke County since Reconstruction. Thurmond was elected Labor Commissioner in November 1998 and was re-elected in 2002 and in 2006. Thurmond has also lectured at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government and is the author of several books on Georgia history. Thurmond is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
U.S. Senate campaign
In April 2010, Thurmond announced his intention to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Johnny Isakson. He easily defeated his opponent in the Democratic primary, county employee RJ Hadley, on July 20. He lost the general election to Isakson and was succeeded as Commissioner of Labor by former state representative Mark Butler, a member of the Republican Party.