Qualifying starts today, so you’ll see a lot of these candidates who think they want to run for office now get to put their money where their mouth is.
The retirement of US Representatives Rob Woodall (R-GA-07) and Tom Graves (R-GA-14) from Congress and US Representative Doug Collins (R-GA-09) challenging US Senator Kelly Loeffler (R) will create some turnover in the Georgia General Assembly as folks jump into those congressional races.
Governor Brian Kemp also gets to make an appointment to the Georgia Supreme Court with Justice Keith Blackwell announcing his resignation this past Friday, so there may be some additional shifting if the Governor decides to tap someone who is currently serving under the Gold Dome.
In light of that, here’s a list of folks currently serving in the General Assembly, that we know of, who won’t be seeking re-election of their current office. Some are stepping away from public life (like Rep. Scot Turner, Congressman Tom Graves, etc.) after serving their constituency while others are seeking a different office (like Rep. Michael Caldwell seeking a state senate seat, Reps. Kevin Cooke, Matt Gurtler, and Sen. Renee Unterman seeking a Congressional seat).
From the Georgia House of Representatives:
Rep. Colton Moore, 1st (R)
Rep. Michael Caldwell, 20th (R)
Rep. Scot Turner, 21st (R)
Rep. Tom McCall, 33rd (R)
Rep. Marc Morris, 26th (R)
Rep. Andrew Welch, 110th (R)
Rep. Kevin Tanner, 9th (R)
Rep. Kevin Cooke, 18th (R)
Rep. Terry Rogers, 10th (R)
Rep. Ken Pullin, 131st (R)
Rep. Matt Gurtler, 8th (R)
Rep. Pat Gardner, 57th (D)
Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas, 56th (D)
An interesting side note: Of those who aren’t seeking re-election to the Georgia House, Representatives Moore, Caldwell, Cooke, Turner, Pullen, and Gurtler signed the resolution calling for ousting current Speaker of the House David Ralston. Of those who signed onto the resolution, only Representatives Jeff Jones, Sheri Gillian, and David Clark are seeking re-election to the House. Of those three, Reps. Jones has likely GOP primary opposition in Buddy Deloach, respectively. Rep. Colton Moore also faced two primary challengers and floated the idea of running for the 14th District Congressional seat as well before announcing his decision to not run for District 1 in 2020.
I will also point out that Rep. Turner imposed term limits upon himself and announced that he wasn’t running for re-election well before the controversy with the Speaker came to light. The same with Rep. Caldwell who decided to run for State Senate district 21 when current Sen. Brandon Beach decided to run for GA-06. You may recall that Sen. Beach decided to end his congressional campaign and is running for the 21st District seat again with Rep. Caldwell challenging Beach for the GOP nomination. As pointed out above, Reps. Cooke and Gurtler are making their own congressional runs and will not be running for re-election in the Georgia House.
From the Georgia Senate:
Sen. John Wilkinson, 50th (R)
Sen. Steve Henson, 41st (D)
Sen. William Ligon, 3rd (R)
Sen. Ellis Black, 8th (R)
Sen. Bill Heath, 31st (R)
Sen. Zahra Karinshak, 48th (D)
Sen. Renee Unterman, 45th (R)
Sen. Jesse Stone, 23rd (R)
Qualifying starts at 9a today and end Friday, March 6th at noon. You can check who qualifies for state and federal offices on the Secretary of State’s website.