UPDATED: For clarity, Representative Weldon hasn’t officially withdrawn from the race. The Catoosa GOP has, in its resolution, will send a certified letter requesting that Weldon send a formal letter of withdrawal with 72 hours of his decision.
Georgia State Representative Tom Weldon (R-HD-03) decided last week to withdraw from his re-election race. My understanding is that there are family and personal issues that will keep him from representing his constituency under the Gold Dome next year. If that’s the case, I believe it’s honorable for him to put his family above his public service. He had one primary opponent: Dewayne Hill, who served as a commissioner in Catoosa County from 1997 until 2014 where he lost his re-election bid by 27 votes.
During this weekend’s county convention, the Catoosa County Republican Party passed a resolution, drafted by Jeremy Jones, urging the Georgia Republican Party to reopen qualifying for the 3rd House District citing OCGA 21-2-155 as reason:
In the event of the death of a candidate or the withdrawal of an incumbent who qualified as a candidate to succeed himself or herself in office, either of which occurs after the close of qualifying for candidates for such office but prior to the date of a political party primary, the state executive committee or other committee of the party authorized by party rule or, in the case of a municipal election, the municipal executive committee may reopen qualification for the office sought by the deceased or withdrawn candidate for a period of not less than one nor more than three days.
With that said, Mr. Jones (who has previously ran for public office) did post a picture on Facebook of him pondering on qualifying for an office while he was in Atlanta during qualifying week, so I wouldn’t doubt that there is some self-interest in sponsoring the resolution passed by the Catoosa GOP on Saturday.
I am not a lawyer, nor do I claim to be an expert in election law (I’ll defer to our resident GeorgiaPol lawyer pool to offer their opinion if they choose), but I can understand the request and seems legitimate under state law. There is only one candidate vying for what will be an open seat. Had Representative Weldon made a decision not to run and not qualify, there would probably be additional candidates who would throw their hat into the primary arena.
From an outsider looking in, it seems only fair to reopen qualifying. Seeing that the decision to reopen qualifying would be made by the GAGOP Executive Committee, I’ll have a vote in that, and I’ll listen to and weigh both sides of the argument before committing to a position.