Two upcoming special elections scheduled next month will result in a new state representative and chief prosecutor. The race for House District 90 – which encompasses DeKalb, Henry, and Rockdale counties – will feature a slate of 7 Democratic candidates. The Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney race is bipartisan and much smaller, featuring only two candidates.
The list of candidates on the ballot for the state representative seat are exclusively Democratic because of the circumstances surrounding the previous representative’s departure from office. Representative Pam Stephenson (D-Decatur) resigned last September due to medical issues; she’d served as representative for about 15 years. Her daughter, Taureaun Stephenson, acted as her power of attorney and submitted a resignation letter to House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). The next week, Governor Brian Kemp accepted her resignation.
Candidates for House District 90 are Diandra Hines, Angela Moore, Valerie Murphy, Greg Shealey, Joel Thibodeaux, Stan Watson, and Ed Williams. Most of these candidates aren’t new to the local races: Moore, Shealey, Thibodeaux, Waston, and Williams.
Moore lost in several Democratic primaries: in 2006 and 2010 for Secretary of State, and in 2008 and 2015 for State Senate District 43. Shealey lost in the 2018 and 2020 Democratic primaries against then-incumbent Stephenson. Thibodeaux lost in the 2018 Democratic primary for State Senate District 43. Waston lost in the 2020 Democratic primary against then-incumbent Stephenson. Williams lost in the 2018 nonpartisan primary for DeKalb County Commission District 7.
A Georgia Secretary of State spokesperson informed The Georgia Star News that, due to the resignation occurring in the middle of an election cycle and the runoff elections for the state’s two Senate seats, officials had to schedule the special election to replace Stephenson following the last major runoff elections on January 5.
As for the second election, voters in Fayette, Pike, Spaulding, and Upson counties will select their chief prosecutor. Incumbent Republican District Attorney Marie Greene Broder will face Democratic candidate Dexter Wimbish.
The special election occurred because Broder was appointed to finish the term for prior District Attorney Ben Coker. Coker departed the position last February when Kemp appointed him to serve as Superior Court Judge. The special election follows the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling last fall that the governor doesn’t have the authority to extend judicial appointment provisions to district attorneys.
The last day for voter registration was January 11. Advance in-person absentee voting will begin on Monday for both elections. The date for both special elections is February 9th, with a runoff election taking place March 9th if necessary.
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