Qualifying is scheduled through Friday at noon at the State Capitol for the Senate District 30 seat — left open by Bill Hamrick’s recent appointment to a Coweta Judicial District judgeship.
Carrollton businessman James Naughton also qualifed today for the Special Primary Election scheduled for Nov. 6.
Richardson, of Hiram, was elected in 1996 as the first Republican since Reconstruction to represent Paulding County in the Legislature. He served seven terms in the State House and was elected in 2005 as the first Republican Speaker of the Georgia House in 130 years.
However, he resigned his speakership and House seat before the 2010 session amid a scandal involving an alleged inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist.
Richardson said he wanted to seek the seat because “this just came up and under such rare circumstances.”
“It seemed like an opportunity to seek a leadership position. I feel like this was the time to do it,” he said.
Richardson said it is “not my job to say if people have forgiven or forgot” the events which led to his 2010 resignation.
“I had to step up when I saw an opportunity,” he said. “I may achieve it and I may not.”
Richardson said he planned to emphasize such issues as the need for conservative spending, a wider variety of educational opportunities and ways to provide transportation projects without a regional approach.
Hembree, a Winston resident, served a total of nine terms in the House. He resigned his House District 67 seat last week to seek the vacant Senate seat.
In a prepared statement, Hembree said, “We need a leader we can trust to be on our side. Like you, I am tired of the politicians who put the special interests above the interests of the taxpayers they represent. Too many politicians let us down and embarrass us.
“I’m running for Senate with a simple promise: you have my word that I’ll be on your side. I’ve got your back, and I’ll represent you. While I won’t make promises I can’t keep, I’ll do everything in my power to slash wasteful government spending, stop tax increases and attract new jobs to get our families back to work,” he stated.
Hembree lost a 2010 bid for Speaker of the House to current Speaker David Ralston.
He has served as chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee and Higher Education and Industrial Relations committees.
Hembree was unopposed for the Republican nomination for House District 67 in the July 31 primary. However, he had to resign by Sept. 6 to allow the Georgia Republican Party Executive Committee to choose a replacement nominee for the District 67 seat. If he resigned after Sept. 6, the seat would have gone automatically to Democratic nominee Leigh McMutry of Winston.
The committee chose Micah Gravely of south Paulding County to face McMutry in the Nov. 6 general election.
A CLOSER LOOK:
- A Nov. 6 Republican special Primary Election is scheduled to fill the Republican nominee’s spot for State Senate District 30. A runoff election, if needed, will be held on Dec. 4, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
- Qualifying for the Republican Special Primary Election in the State Capitol will be Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 14, from 8 a.m. to noon.
- A Democratic Special election is not scheduled because no Democrats qualified for the regular primary election July 31.
- Then a Special Election for the seat is scheduled for Jan. 8 between the Republican nominee and any independent candidates who qualify this week, and runoff election, if needed, will be held on Feb. 5.