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U.S. House candidates gear up for special election

POSTED: May 1, 2010 11:50 p.m.

While candidates locally and across the state spent the past week declaring their intentions to participate in the July 20 primary, some also prepared for the final week of campaigning for an upcoming special election.

The May 11 vote will determine who finishes the year as Georgia’s 9th District representative in the U.S. House, and who completes the final months of the term of a former state senator who seeks to fill that House seat.

Former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, an 18-year Republican representative from Gainesville, left that seat vacant when he resigned to focus on his campaign for governor.

Seven men — six Republicans and one conservative independent — have committed themselves to a campaign to complete the final months of Deal’s term, which ends in December.

Two of those men, Republicans Lee Hawkins and Tom Graves, resigned from the General Assembly to qualify for the special election.

Special elections will be held on the same day in Hall and parts of Jackson, Bartow, Pickens and Gordon counties to fill the vacancy left in the state Senate by Hawkins and the vacancy left by Graves in the state House.

All of the Republican candidates — Hawkins, Graves, Bert Loftman, Chris Cates, Bill Stephens and Steve Tarvin — also qualified this week to participate in the July 20 party primary to determine who runs in the November election.

Another Republican, Bobby Reese of Sugar Hill, qualified for the primary but is not participating in the special election.

Independent candidate Eugene Moon of Gainesville must obtain the signatures of 5 percent of the voters to appear on the November ballot.



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