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Election Needed for Gingrich Seat

November 8, 1998

ATLANTA (AP) _ With a special election looming in the next two months, both parties are scrambling to find candidates to run for Newt Gingrich’s congressional seat in an overwhelmingly Republican district.

``This is a district that is conservative, that believes in cutting taxes and that believes in having a Republican majority in Congress,″ said Gingrich, who announced Saturday that he would resign from Congress. A day earlier, Gingrich decided to not run for Speaker of the House again.

Gingrich handily won re-election in Tuesday’s election, getting 71 percent of the votes in the race against little-known Democrat Gary ``Bats″ Pelphrey.

The governor has 10 days after the resignation takes effect to call for a nonpartisan special election at least 30 days later. He is expected to leave before the new Congress is sworn in Jan. 6.

Secretary of State Lewis Massey said, because of the holidays, the election would probably be held early next year. Massey said the clock can’t start ticking on the 10 days until Gingrich notifies the governor of his official resignation date.

All special elections in Georgia require the candidate to get at least 50 percent of the vote or face a runoff against the second-place finisher.

The short campaign and nonpartisan format may open the door for a Democratic candidate with name recognition to represent the state’s 6th District.

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