The winner of today’s nonpartisan special election will serve Deal’s unexpired term, through Dec. 31, and be able to campaign as the incumbent for the two-year term that begins in January 2011.
On the ballot are Republicans Chris Cates of Blairsville; Tom Graves of Ranger; Lee Hawkins of Gainesville; Bert Loftin of Jasper; Bill Stephens of Cumming; and Steve Tarvin of Chickamauga; Democrat Mike Freeman of Gainesville; and Independent Eugene Moon of Gainesville.
If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a run-off election will take place June 8.
Freeman did not qualify to run for the new term by the deadline for the July 20 party primaries. A seventh Republican, Bobby Reese of Flowery Branch, qualified for the primary but is not running in the special election.
As an independent, Moon would have to qualify between June 28 and July 2 to be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
Graves and Hawkins left Georgia General Assembly seats to run for Congress, so nonpartisan special elections to fill their unexpired terms also are taking place today.
Candidates for Graves’ House District 12 seat are Rick Jasperse of Jasper and Truett Moss II of Calhoun, both Republicans, and Jerry Nally, a Rydal Democrat.
Candidates for Hawkins’ Senate District 49 seat are Brandon Givens, a Gainesville Libertarian and two Republicans from Flowery Branch: Butch Miller and Jimmy Norman.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents in the districts must have been registered by April 2 to vote in the special elections.
Read more about the races