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Ballot set for July 20 primary as qualifying ends

DOT board member running for state Senate

POSTED: May 1, 2010 4:25 p.m.
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Steve Gooch

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The week of qualifying for the July 20 party primary for Hall County races ended with a whimper Friday.

While a previously qualified Democrat reaffirmed his candidacy — Paul Wayne Godfrey of Flowery Branch will run for the South Hall post on the Hall County Commission — no Democrats or Republicans qualified for local races in the final three hours of qualifying, said Hall County’s Interim Elections Superintendent Charlotte Sosebee.

But Department of Transportation board member Steve Gooch qualified for a state Senate race Friday morning, which may leave the 9th District without representation on the state DOT board for the fourth time in two years.

Gooch, of Dahlonega, qualified Friday to run as a Republican for the state Senate District 51 seat. The seat is currently held by state Sen. Chip Pearson, R-Dawsonville.

Pearson qualified for the seat Monday, but on Friday, he issued a statement that he would not seek re-election, citing a desire to spend time with his family.

Gooch was selected in October 2009 by state representatives and senators from the 15-county 9th District to serve out an unexpired term on the DOT board.

By press time, it was unclear when Gooch would have to resign his post on the DOT board.

If Gooch resigns, he will be the third chosen representative who did not complete the five-year term that began in February 2008.

Gooch stepped into the post behind Steve Farrow, who was elected to the board in May 2008 to fill the unexpired term of Mike Evans.

Evans resigned shortly after he was elected to a second term on the board, citing a romantic relationship with then-DOT Commissioner Gena Abraham. Farrow later stepped down for personal reasons.

When Gooch was elected to the board last October, he said he planned to finish the term.

But Gooch said he left work Friday morning to drive to the Capitol when he learned Pearson would withdraw his candidacy.

“I made sure that the rumor was true before I entered the race,” Gooch said. “...I would not have chosen to run against (Pearson), that’s for sure.”



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