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Qualifying underway for special Senate election
Jeffares resigns to focus on bid for lieutenant governor
Legislators Listen
Members of the Newton County legislative delegation including, from left, Sens. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia, and Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough, and Reps. Andrew Welch and Dale Rutledge, both R-McDonough, listen to a question at a Covington-Newton County Chamber breakfast Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in Covington. - photo by David Clemons

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.

Brian Strickland
Brian Strickland, a McDonough Republican, served in the state House from 2013-17.

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.