Special election set for state House seat in south Georgia

A January election is set to fill a vacancy in the Georgia state House.

Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered the special election on Jan. 21 in House District 171, which covers parts of Colquitt, Decatur and Mitchell counties. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said a runoff, if needed, will be Feb. 25.

Candidates run together regardless of party in a special election, without party primaries.

Candidate qualifying for the race will be Monday through Wednesday, with Dec. 30 the last day to register to vote.

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.

The seat was formerly held by Rep. Jay Powell, a Camilla Republican who died at a Republican caucus leadership retreat in November. He was the chairman of the Rules Committee, which helped decide which bills were considered by the House.

Powell, 67, was an attorney who served as mayor in the south Georgia city of Camilla before winning a legislative seat in 2009.