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February 1, 2013

Tuesday runoff to decide Senate contest

THOMASVILLE —

Voters on Tuesday will decide which Republican candidate will represent District 11 in the Georgia Senate.

John Bulloch, longtime former district senator, resigned unexpectedly in December. Within days, a brief candidate-qualifying period was under way, and the election was called for Jan. 8.

Mike Keown, a Coolidge Baptist minister, and Dean Burke, a Bainbridge physician, were the top vote-getters in field of six candidates, all Republicans, with the exception of one Libertarian. The sole Democrat candidate dropped out of the race.

District 11 encompasses Grady, Decatur, Seminole, Miller, Colquitt and Early counties and portions of Thomas and Mitchell counties.

Thomas County precincts of Pavo, Barwick, Boston and Gatlin Creek will not vote in the Tuesday election.

The five-day early voting period ended at 5 p.m. Friday. At 4 p.m., 913 early ballots had been cast in Thomas County.

After the Georgia secretary of state certifies Tuesday’s election results, a date will be set for the senator-elect to be sworn in, said Robyn Underwood, legislative fiscal officer in the office of the secretary of state.

A state senator is paid $17,342 annually, in addition to $173 per diem when the legislature is in session.

State senators are eligible to participate in all benefits offered to a state employee, with the exception of the retirement plan, Underwood explained.

“They may opt in or out of the Legislative Retirement System,” she explained.

In addition to other compensation, senators have an expense reimbursement account of $7,000 per legislative year.

“They must incur and pay the qualified expense and then may choose to request a reimbursement from this account with the proper documentation (proof of payment),” Underwood said.

Polls open here and in Grady County at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.

 

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