3 candidates qualify for southwest Georgia state House seat

Two Republicans and a Democrat have qualified to run for a vacant state House seat in southwest Georgia.

They’re seeking to replace Republican Jay Powell, who died last month at a legislative retreat.

Republicans include Tommy Akridge and Joe Campbell, both of Camilla. Jewell Howard of Baconton is running as a Democrat.

The three candidates will run together regardless of party in the Jan. 21 special election. A runoff will be Feb. 25 if no candidate wins a majority.

House District 171 covers parts of Colquitt, Decatur and Mitchell counties.

Campbell is chairman of the Mitchell County Republican party and told The Valdosta Daily Times he’d focus on the district’s agricultural needs. Akridge, a farmer and Georgia Farm Bureau director, said he’d also focus on agriculture. Howard, a retired teacher who lost to Powell in 2012, said he wants to focus on improving the region’s economy.

The winner will take office after the 2020 session of the General Assembly begins on Jan. 13, and will only serve until voters elect a representative for a full term in November.