Six special legislative elections set for June, July

[private]It was just six months ago that Georgia voters elected 236 members of the General Assembly, but special elections have already been scheduled to replace six members of the state House of Representatives.

Two special elections will be held June 16 to fill House District 55 in Atlanta (where Tyrone Brooks resigned after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges) and House District 24 in Forsyth County (where Mark Hamilton stepped down because he’s moving to Tennessee).

Secretary of State Brian Kemp this week scheduled four more special elections to be held July 14 in House District 48 in Roswell (to replace Harry Geisinger, who died May 1), House District 80 in DeKalb County (Mike Jacobs was appointed to a judgeship), House District 146 in Houston County (Larry O’Neal was appointed a tax judge), and House District 155 in Middle Georgia (where Jay Roberts resigned to accept a job in the DOT).

Seven candidates qualified in House District 55, including Brooks’ son, Tyrone Brooks Jr., and attorney Raghu Raju, attorney Shelitha Robertson, project manager Alysia Brown, business owner Michael Fitzgerald, interior designer John Franklin Guest Jr., and retired educator Marie Metze. Six of the seven candidates are Democrats, with one non-partisan (Guest).

There are four Republican candidates running in the House District 24 election: Ethan Underwood, 37, and David Van Sant, 38, who are both attorneys; Lanier Technical College instructor Sheri Smallwood Gilligan, 52, and Will Kremer, 21, an insurance agent and blogger for the Republican political website Peach Pundit.

Another Peach Pundit blogger, Rep. Buzz Brockway of Lawrenceville, has been a state legislator since 2011.

Qualifying for the July 14 elections will be held June 1-3 at the state elections office in Atlanta, but several candidates have already announced they are running for the vacant House seats.

Two local elected officials have resigned their offices to run in House District 155: Ben Hill County Commissioner Scott Downing of Fitzgerald and Ocilla Mayor Horace Hudgins.

Downing, who has worked in his family’s meat processing business, was the director of economic development for Ben Hill County, a job he held as a volunteer. Hudgins is involved in several businesses in Ocilla, which is also the hometown of Roberts.

Roswell City Councilwoman Betty Price, the wife of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, is running for Geisinger’s seat in House District 48.

Houston County businessman Larry Walker III announced in April he would run in House District 146 to replace O’Neal, who had been the House majority leader. Walker is the son of Larry Walker, a member of the Georgia House for 32 years before serving on the State Transportation Board and the Board of Regents.

The House District 80 race has attracted Republican Catherine Bernard, a Brookhaven attorney who was formerly a public defender in Dublin. She ran unsuccessfully against Jacobs in the 2014 GOP primary.

Attorney Taylor Bennett, a Democrat, also announced he will run for the House District 80 seat. Bennett played football at Georgia Tech a decade ago and was the team’s starting quarterback during the 2007 season.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Georgia House , special elections