COVINGTON, Ga. — Qualifying is underway for a special election to represent part of Newton County in the state Senate.
Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough, resigned the District 17 seat effective Dec. 1. He is a candidate for lieutenant governor.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp has called a special election for Jan. 9. A runoff election, if necessary, will take place Feb. 6.
Qualifying ends at 1 p.m. Friday. The qualifying fee is $400.
Four candidates had qualified as of 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
In the race were three Republicans — McDonough business owner Nelva Lee, McDonough attorney Brian Strickland and retired Hampton civil engineer Ed Toney — and one Democrat, pastor Phyllis Hatcher, of Conyers.
Strickland resigned the District 111 state House seat, triggering another special election.
Jeffares served the district from 2011-17. He is running to succeed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is in a crowded field to follow term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal.
The district includes parts of Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties.