Why there’s suddenly a wave of open seats in the Georgia Legislature

Georgia lawmakers end another busy session in 2016. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

It’s one of the toughest early decisions for a Georgia politician seeking higher office: resign from the seat to focus on his or her campaign, or stay put and forfeit three months that could have been spent raising cash and hitting the trail?

A wave of Georgia lawmakers running for bigger posts have stepped down from their seats in the state Legislature in the past few days, and several more face that question over the next weeks.

Two Atlanta candidates for governor have already stepped aside. Democratic state Rep. Stacey Abrams sent her resignation letter to Gov. Nathan Deal last week, and Republican state Sen. Hunter Hill said Tuesday that he was leaving his post. Republican state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Cumming, who is running for lieutenant governor, also resigned this week.


The latest openings have triggered a new round of crowded races for open legislative seats. At least three candidates are vying for Abrams’ Atlanta-based seat, a solidly Democratic district. And five contenders have filed paperwork to run for Hill’s seat, a stretch of north Atlanta and east Cobb County that has become one of the most competitive districts in the state.

At least three other legislative seats are open. Republican state Reps. Regina Quick and Chuck Williams, who both represent Athens-area districts, stepped down after they were appointed by Deal to jobs. And state Sen. Vincent Fort’s Atlanta-based seat is vacant now that he’s filed paperwork to run for mayor.

More: Georgia candidates face tough decision: To stay or go?

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