It appears some Forsyth County residents will be affected by a vote in the state House of Representatives to revise the legislative district maps.
During a special session in 2011, state leaders, largely along party lines, approved new district maps for the General Assembly. Friday, the House approved a few tweaks.
"They are redrawing the state House maps to address an issue the Hall County folks had with their maps," explained District 24 state Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a Republican from south Forsyth.
"It was so late in the process last year they decided they were just going to look at it this year and fix it."
The revised map, which awaits approval from the state Senate, reduces the number of representatives in Hall, Forsyth’s neighbor to the east and home to Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, from seven to four.
In doing so, however, it strengthens the stakes of the other districts in the county.
As a result of the move to reduce what some lawmakers called a dilution of Hall’s voting strength, the House districts surrounding it are changing.
Most notably for Forsyth, the county will lose a district it would’ve shared with Hall, District 27, and stay in a reshaped one with stakes in Lumpkin and Dawson counties.
Forsyth currently shares District 9 with Lumpkin and Dawson, however District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton said the map passed Friday would pair the counties with the northwestern part of Forsyth, instead of the northeastern.
The seat is currently held by Rep. Amos Amerson, who has not announced his retirement but has indicated he doesn’t plan to seek another term.
Two Republican candidates have declared their intentions to seek the post, Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner and Clint Smith, a former state representative.
Hamilton’s district, which is changing in number from 23 to 24, likely will be the most impacted in Forsyth, though fewer than 1,000 voters will be shifted.
"In order to make the numbers work exactly, they had to take a little bit out of my district," said Hamilton, a Republican from Cumming. "We made some very, very minor changes between my district and the new open seat in District 26.
"I wasn’t necessarily crazy about the changes. But if they’re going to make them, I wanted to make sure that if anything it helped Forsyth. This new proposed map matches Forsyth County better today than it would have."
To date, the race for the District 26 post has drawn two candidates, businessman Geoff Duncan and Tom Knox, an attorney and former state lawmaker. Both are Republicans.
Qualifying for the July 31 General Primary is set for May 23-25.
Ashley Fielding of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.