Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Names starting to emerge for Vance Smith open House Seat.

Columbus Ledger Enquirer has the story:

The race for Georgia House District 129 has drawn the interest of a former six-term state senator and the son of the man who vacated the position last week.

Retired Realtor Ted Land, 72, served in the Georgia Senate from 1979-1990 and on Columbus Council for 2 1/2 years in the mid-1990s. He said Monday it is a “distinct possibility” he will run.

Kip Smith, the 27-year-old son of state Rep. Vance Smith, said he is “seriously considering” running for the office. Vance Smith was named commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation on Thursday and must resign his House post to take that position.

Three candidates already are in the race: Columbus residents Colin Martin, 42, and Jerry Luquire, 70, announced during the weekend that they would run, and Pine Mountain businessman Steve Earles announced his candidacy Monday.

District 129 includes parts of Muscogee, Harris and Troup counties. A special election will be held to fill Vance Smith’s unexpired term. The election likely will be this fall.

Earles, 56, owns Refresh Salon in Pine Mountain. He never has held or sought political office. Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed him to the Georgia Professional Licensing Board of Massage Therapy.

Land said he would rather not make an announcement until qualifying dates are set.

“I am thinking about it, and I am giving it a lot of consideration,” he said. “I enjoyed serving in the state Senate, and I was re-elected five times.”

Land represented District 16, the seat currently held by state Sen. Seth Harp, R-Columbus.

“I have had some people talking to me about it, and they really got me thinking about it,” he said.

“I didn’t enjoy council as much as I did the state Senate,” Land said. “I feel like I know the process and can serve constituents’ needs.”

Father and son

The younger Smith said politics and service run in his family. His grandfather, Vance Smith Sr., was involved in Harris County and Pine Mountain politics for three decades, and his father was on the Harris County Commission before being elected to the House.

“Being a native of Harris County, a resident of Muscogee County and having gone to school in Troup County, I have an interest in the whole district,” Smith said. “I want to make sure everybody in the district is represented.”

He said he talked to his father and his mother, Michele Smith, about running for the seat his father held since 1992.

“My father and mother have been supportive,” said Kip Smith, the youngest of three siblings. “They generally try and let us make a decision and once that decision is made, they support it.”

Smith did not give a timeframe on when he might announce his candidacy.

Smith, who is married to the former Caroline Saunders, is the managing partner of the Dallas Chipley Group, a real estate management company in Columbus. He owned the downtown Columbus clothing store Chancellor’s before selling it a couple of years ago.

Martin, a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, is a former vice chairman of the Muscogee County Republican Party. He ran for Columbus Council Post 2 in 2002 but lost to Glenn Davis. He has been active in local politics for about 10 years.

Luquire also has been involved in Columbus politics. He is a publication consultant and a former talk-show host. He unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Muscogee County School Board.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He looks like a solid candidate that got a good message that should resonate with voters. In my opinion would be better off running for Lt. Governor.

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