Four running for vacant State Senate seat

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012

As of Tuesday afternoon, four southwest Georgians had qualified as candidates for the special election to fill the vacant State Senate 11 seat.

The seat became vacant after John Bulloch, who had held the seat since 2002, resigned last Thursday.

Qualification remains open until noon Wednesday.

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As of early Tuesday afternoon, the four men who had officially qualified to run for the office were Dr. Dean Burke of Bainbridge, Brad Hughes of Blakely, Ga., Mike Keown of Coolidge, Ga., and Jeffrey A. Bivins of Cairo, Ga.

Hughes, Keown and Burke all qualified as Republicans, while Bivins qualified as a Libertarian.

Outgoing Georgia State House Rep. Gene Maddox, who chose not to run for re-election this past November, announced Tuesday that after “prayerful consideration,” he will not run for Bulloch’s former Senate seat. Maddox and Bulloch worked together closely in the state legislature in recent years.

In a news release, Maddox said he had received many telephone calls asking him to run but ultimately decided not to, citing a desire to continue spending time with his family.

“Upon prayerful consideration I have decided not to run for this position,” Maddox said. “We are fortunate to have good candidates who are willing to place themselves up for nomination. I am very grateful to those who had confidence in me believing that I could serve effectively as a State Senator.”

The special election will be held Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. If necessary, a run-off election will be held on February 5, 2013.


About the candidates

Dr. Dean Burke of Bainbridge is an obstetrician and gynecologist who was first elected to the Bainbridge City Council in 2007. He was re-elected in 2011. Among other civic and community activities, Burke serves on the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce and the Lower Flint District Water Planning Board.

In a news release, Burke said that if elected, he would rely upon his medical background, business knowledge and state and local government experience.

Brad Hughes is a Baptist minister from Blakely who has been active in politics and government for several years.

In 2006, Hughes was the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Georgia’s 2nd District. Most recently, he served as a special assistant to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a post he resigned from last week to run for office.

In a news release, Hughes said he represents conservative values and opposes the influence of lobbyists on state government.

Mike Keown, who is from the small town of Coolidge in Thomas County, is a former Georgia state representative and was the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Georgia’s 2nd District in 2010. He formerly served as the mayor of Coolidge and is currently the pastor of Coolidge Baptist Church.

In a news release, Keown highlighted his service in the Georgia House between 2005 and 2010 and the experience he gained during his run for Congress in 2010, a race he narrowly lost to incumbent U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop.

Jeffrey A. Bivins, of Cairo, qualified as a Libertarian candidate on Tuesday. According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, Bivins owns a business, Armor Clad Industries LLC. An Internet search of the business shows it is located in Whigham, Ga., and is a firearms dealer/gunsmith.