Fewer than 700 vote early in House race

December 17, 2018

Voters in five Floyd County precincts and about half of Bartow County are slated to decide Tuesday who will fill the vacant state House District 14 seat.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in western Bartow and the Floyd precincts of Barkers, Chulio, Etowah, Howell and part of North Rome.

The four candidates — Ken Coomer, Nickie Leighly, Mitchell Scoggins and Nathan Wilson — answer questions about who they are and what they stand for on pages A5 and 6 in today’s paper.

Under state law, a candidate will need to win more than 50 percent of the vote to win the seat outright. If a runoff is needed, Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden has set the date for Jan. 15.

A week of early voting ended Friday, netting a total of just 696 mailed and in-person ballots. That included 609 from Bartow, where the majority of the district lies, and 87 from Floyd, according to a secretary of state data report.

In comparison, there were a total of 18,677 votes cast in the 2016 election for the seat: 13,166 in Bartow and 5,511 in Floyd.

Tuesday’s election is billed as a Republican primary special election, although Georgia voters don’t register by party so anyone in the district registered by Nov. 27 is eligible to vote in the race.

Robert Brady, Floyd County’s chief elections clerk, said the purpose is to replace Christian Coomer, who was unopposed for reelection but withdrew for a seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals.

“The winner of the Republican primary did not make it to the general election, so a special election is needed to determine a candidate,” Brady explained.

There was no Democratic candidate on the general election ballot, so the winner of the Republican nomination will automatically take the seat.

Update hourly