Governor Brian Kemp has set a January 31 special election for House District 119 to replace Representative-elect Danny Rampey. Kemp called for the election in a New Year’s Eve order; the election date coincides with special elections in Senate District 11 and House District 172.

Rampey was elected in the November General Election, where he ran unopposed after defeating Marcus Ray with 82.7 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. But Rampey hadn’t yet taken office when he was arrested in December, facing allegations that he stole narcotics at a retirement complex that he managed, according to the AP. The Athens Banner-Herald reported that Rampey faces 19 felony counts, including burglary and drug possession.

“Representative-Elect Danny Rampey has chosen to withdraw from office prior to the General Assembly convening on January 9. His withdrawal will ensure his constituents have a voice in this session of the General Assembly after the special election is held,” House Speaker Jan Jones (R-Milton) and Speaker-nominee Jon Burns (R-Newington) said in a joint statement according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein.

On December 22, Kemp announced that District 11 Senator Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) will resign to take a job as the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Community Health. Representative Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) announced his candidacy for the vacant senate seat, and Kemp announced Watson’s resignation from the House, creating the District 172 vacancy.

“With a long and accomplished medical career in rural Georgia, as well as extensive policy experience as Chairman of the Community Health Sub-Committee and Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, Senator Burke will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role of Chief Medical Officer,” Kemp said in a press release. “I’m thankful for his willingness to serve in this new capacity for the benefit of all Georgians, including those in our rural communities.”

Watson faces Libertarian John Monds and Democrat Mary Weaver-Anderson, while Republican Charles Cannon is the only candidate for House District 172, according to the Office of the Secretary of State. Candidates can apply to qualify for House District 119 on January 3, 4, and 5.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Brian Kemp” by Governor Brian Kemp. Photo “Danny Rampey” by Danny Rampey for Georgia House District 119. Background Photo “Georgia State Capitol” by connor.carey. CC BY-SA 3.0.