Unbeknownst to many, yesterday was election day in the Peach State – at least for one house district in south Georgia.
HD-175, way down on the Florida border, contains parts of Valdosta and Thomasville along with Quitman, Morven, and Boston. Bonus points if you knew there was a Boston, Georgia. The seat was vacated when former state Rep. Amy Carter resigned to take a job with the Technical College System of Georgia as executive director of advancement, giving candidates a very brief window to qualify and campaign between January 1st and yesterday, February 13th.
Four candidates, one Democrat and three Republicans, squared off in the special election in the heavily Republican district – Treva Gear (D), John LaHood (R), Bruce Phelps (R), and Coy Reaves (R). The last time Carter had competition, back in 2012, she won by a healthy 40 points over Democratic sacrificial lamb J.C. Cunningham.
Republican John LaHood took the contest and avoided a runoff, securing an impressive 70% of the vote in what was predictably a low-turnout affair. Democrat Gear finished in second with 24%, with the other two Republicans putting up meager showings.
LaHood, a graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College who runs a retirement home, will have a short turnaround after joining a 2018 legislative session already well underway – he will have to defend his/her newly won seat as soon as May 22nd in the Republican primary should he be challenged.