A special election will likely be held this year to fill the remaining term of District 43 State Senator Ronald Ramsey, who was recently appointed by Governor Nathan Deal as a judge in the newly formed DeKalb County traffic court.
District 43 encompasses most of Rockdale County, the western third of Newton County, and a portion of DeKalb County.
On Thursday, July 30, Governor Deal swore in Ramsey as a judge for DeKalb's new traffic court, along with Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Shondeana Crews Morris, DeKalb County Chief Assistant Solicitor General Keisha Storey, and Clayton County Senior Assistant District Attorney Brian Ross. The traffic court replaces the former Recorders Court, which had faced federal lawsuits over how it handled traffic cases and probations.
If the legislature were in session, Gov. Deal would need to call for the special election within 10 days of the District 43 seat becoming vacant, said Rockdale County Elections Supervisor Cynthia Welch.*
However, since the legislature is not in session, the special election might be held in the fall in conjunction with the Conyers City Council and Mayoral election.
The date of the special election has not been determined, according to Deal's office.
Once it is called, the special election must be held after 30 days and before 60 days has passed the call for special election.
The special election will be a non-partisan race and the winner would serve the remainder of Ramsey's term in 2015 and 2016.
During Thursday's swearing-in ceremony, Ramsey said, "Gov. Deal, I am very honored and grateful to have this opportunity to serve on the state board. These judges that will serve with me, we know we're charged with setting a new standard for traffic court. A new standard of leadership and justice for the citizens of DeKalb County."
Ramsey said he had no comment on the special election.
Elaine Davis-Nickens, Chair of the Rockdale Democratic Party, who attended Ramsey's swearing in ceremony, said "We need someone from Rockdale County... Not that someone from DeKalb couldn't represent (Rockdale residents in District 43), but we want to make sure our interests are considered."
Several residents from Rockdale and DeKalb counties have expressed interest in running for the position.
Senator Ramsey (D-Decatur) was first elected to the Georgia Senate in 2006 and was serving his fifth term. He ran unopposed for the last two elections, 2012 and 2014, and won more than 75 percent of the vote in his first three elections for the District 43 seat.
He served as a Municipal Court Judge for the City of Stone Mountain, from 2000-2007, the first African-American to hold that office. In 2005 he became the Director of Internal Affairs for the DeKalb County School District, his current position, which oversees labor relations functions.
*The timeframe of when the special election would need to be called was incorrectly listed in the original version of this article. The News regrets the error.