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Special election set for April 27

Congressional seat opens after resignation

POSTED: March 24, 2010 10:26 a.m.

A special election to fill former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal’s seat in Congress will be on April 27.  Qualifying for the election begins next week.   

Whoever wins the election will serve in Washington from the date the election is certified until the end of Deal’s term in December.  

Late Monday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the election date to fill Deal’s unexpired term as representative of Georgia’s 9th District in Congress.  

Deal resigned Sunday night after a vote on health care in order to focus on his bid for governor.   

Secretary of State Brian Kemp set three consecutive qualifying dates for the election, beginning Monday.  

The cost to qualify is $5,220 per candidate, spokesman Matt Carrothers said.  

The election is nonpartisan, though candidates’ affiliation will be listed on the ballot. 

If needed, a runoff election will be held May 25. Voters must be registered in their counties by April 2 to vote in the election. 

Before Deal announced his early resignation, there were at least 10 Republicans, one Democrat and one Independent candidate registered with the Federal Election Commission with hopes to fill Deal’s seat in Washington. 

Most have said that they would take part in a special election to complete Deal’s unexpired term now that he’s left Washington early. 

Those running for the seat who currently hold elected office must resign from their positions upon qualifying for the special election. 

Some of those in the race are members of the Georgia General Assembly, including state Sen. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, and state Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger. 

Graves issued a statement Monday night that he would resign from his position in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday in order to qualify for the congressional election.  

Graves, who is in his fourth term representing House District 12, was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2002.  Hawkins has also said he would participate in the special election.  

State Rep. Bobby Reese, R-Sugar Hill, who is also a Republican candidate in the 9th District race, did not return a call seeking comment.  

When the state lawmakers vacate their seats to run in the special election, there will also have to be a special election to fill their seats in the state House, Carrothers said.  

“It’s a whole big mess, but we’ll get it taken care of,” Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said. “The dominos will start today, because we’ll issue the writ today, and then the Secretary of State will set the qualifying dates and then we’ll be off to the races.”  

The elections likely will be costly for governments in the 15-county district, which includes Dawson County.  

For Hall County alone, the expense of one special election would be about $45,000, according to Charlotte Sosebee, the county’s interim elections director.  

The same rules apply to filling a vacant seat in the state House as they do for a vacant congressional seat.  

Once a vacancy is announced, the governor has 10 days to issue a writ of election. The date of the election can be no sooner than 30 days from the date the governor issues the writ.


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