Earlier this week, District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan made the decision to step down from his position, and it appears that has affected some other local campaigns.
Duncan, whose district surrounds Lake Lanier and portions of northeast Forsyth County, announced on Monday he would be stepping down from the seat he has held since 2013 to focus on his run for lieutenant governor. Duncan said stepping down would allow him to focus on his campaign and would hopefully allow his replacement to take office by January, when the legislative session begins.
Duncan’s term was set to expire at the end of 2018, and he was already not seeking re-election next year because state rules only allow candidates to declare for one position. Duncan’s replacement would serve the remainder of his term and will be up for re-election next year.
It appears the biggest impact will be for Marc Morris, a south Forsyth businessman and the only candidate to announce he would run for the seat.
“I will be running in the special election to fill the unexpired term,” Morris said on Thursday.
Morris said Duncan called him on Monday but that he did not know before that the seat would be up for re-election this year and credited his team for adjusting to a much sooner election.
“The good news is we got on the ground early, already have our organization in place that was already kind of set to go,” he said. “We were prepared to go because we had gotten involved so early.”
If elected this year, Morris plans to run for re-election in 2018.
No date has been set for the election, but officials have said they would prefer Nov. 7, the same day as three regular city of Cumming elections and one special election for Forsyth County.
Duncan’s resignation letter has also prompted a fellow lieutenant governor candidate’s campaign to respond.
In the letter, Duncan said District 45 state Sen. David Shafer’s pay-to-play “political charade will soon be coming to an end” among other comments.
“It is sad to watch Mr. Duncan stoop to insults and wild falsehoods,” said Emily Grosshans, Shafer’s campaign spokesperson. “We will remain focused on promoting Senator Shafer’s record of conservative legislative accomplishments as he continues to gain support from across the State.”
Shafer also provided the Forsyth County News a response from former state chairs of the Republican Party Bob Shaw and Sue Everett, who both called Duncan’s remarks false and said he should not be attacking his own party.
Similar to Duncan, District 6 state Sen. Hunter Hill, who is running for governor, made the decision this week to step down from his post, which represents parts of Cobb and Fulton counties, to focus on his campaign.
“Running for governor is a serious undertaking and one that deserves each candidate’s full commitment,” Hill said in a news release. “Unfortunately, two of my opponents have a history of holding one office while pursuing another. Georgians don’t want candidates for governor putting their political careers ahead of the future of our state.”
Forsyth’s District 27 state Sen Michael Williams is one of Hill’s opponents in the run for governor, and his campaign manager, Seth Weathers, said Williams will serve the remainder of his term while running for governor.